Metabolic remodeling associated with subchronic doxorubicin cardiomyopathy

Rui A. Carvalho, Rui P.B. Sousa, Virgilio J.J. Cadete, Gary D. Lopaschuk, Carlos M.M. Palmeira, James A. Bjork, Kendall B Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Doxorubicin (Adriamycin®) is a potent and broad-spectrum antineoplastic agent, the clinical utility of which is restricted by a cumulative and progressive cardiomyopathy that develops with repeated dosing. Fundamental to the cardiac failure is an interference with mitochondrial respiration and inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation. Global gene expression arrays in cardiac tissue indicate that inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation by doxorubicin (DOX) is accompanied by a decreased expression of genes related to aerobic fatty acid oxidation and a corresponding increase in expression of genes involved in anaerobic glycolysis, possibly as an alternate source for ATP production. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether this is also manifest at the metabonomic level as a switch in metabolic flux in cardiac tissue, and whether this can be averted by co-administering the cardioprotective drug, dexrazoxane (DZR). 13C-isotopomer analysis of isolated perfused hearts from male Sprague-Dawley rats receiving 6 weekly s.c. injections of 2mg/kg DOX demonstrated a shift from the preferential oxidation of fatty acids to enhanced oxidation of glucose and lactate plus pyruvate, indicative of a compensatory shift towards increased pyruvate dehydrogenase activity. Substrate-selective isotopomer analysis combined with western blots indicate an inhibition of long-chain fatty acid oxidation and not MCAD activity or fatty acyl-carnitine transport. Co-administering DZR averted many treatment-related changes in cardiac substrate metabolism, consistent with DZR being an effective cardioprotective agent against DOX-induced cardiomyopathy. This switch in substrate metabolism resembles that described for other models of cardiac failure; accordingly, this change in metabolic flux may represent a general compensatory response of cardiac tissue to imbalances in bioenergetic demand and supply, and not a characteristic unique to DOX-induced cardiac failure itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Cardiac metabolism
  • Dexrazoxan
  • Doxorubicin cardiomyopathy
  • NMR isotopomer analysis


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