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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 30;6(3):e18005. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018005.

p53 Regulates oxidative stress-mediated retrograde signaling: a novel mechanism for chemotherapy-induced cardiac injury.

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  • 1Graduate Center for Toxicology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America.

Abstract

The side effects of cancer therapy on normal tissues limit the success of therapy. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated for numerous chemotherapeutic agents including doxorubicin (DOX), a potent cancer chemotherapeutic drug. The production of ROS by DOX has been linked to DNA damage, nuclear translocation of p53, and mitochondrial injury; however, the causal relationship and molecular mechanisms underlying these events are unknown. The present study used wild-type (WT) and p53 homozygous knock-out (p53(-/-)) mice to investigate the role of p53 in the crosstalk between mitochondria and nucleus. Injecting mice with DOX (20 mg/kg) causes oxidative stress in cardiac tissue as demonstrated by immunogold analysis of the levels of 4-hydroxy-2'-nonenal (4HNE)-adducted protein, a lipid peroxidation product bound to proteins. 4HNE levels increased in both nuclei and mitochondria of WT DOX-treated mice but only in nuclei of DOX-treated p53((-/-)) mice, implicating a critical role for p53 in causing DOX-induced oxidative stress in mitochondria. The stress-activated protein c-Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNKs) was activated in response to increased 4HNE in WT mice but not p53((-/-)) mice receiving DOX treatment, as determined by co-immunoprecipitation of HNE and pJNK. The activation of JNK in DOX treated WT mice was accompanied by Bcl-2 dissociation from Beclin in mitochondria and induction of type II cell death (autophagic cell death), as evidenced by an increase in LC3-I/LC-3-II ratio and γ-H2AX, a biomarker for DNA damage. The absence of p53 significantly reduces mitochondrial injury, assessed by quantitative morphology, and decline in cardiac function, assessed by left ventricular ejection fraction and fraction shortening. These results demonstrate that p53 plays a critical role in DOX-induced cardiac toxicity, in part, by the induction of oxidative stress mediated retrograde signaling.

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