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Cancer Res. 2000 Apr 1;60(7):1789-92.

Acute doxorubicin cardiotoxicity involves cardiomyocyte apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Turku, Finland.


Despite well-documented cardiotoxic effects, doxorubicin remains a major anticancer agent. To study the role of myocardial apoptosis following doxorubicin administration, male Wistar rats were exposed to 1.25, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg of i.p. doxorubicin and terminated on days 1-7 in groups of five. Doxorubicin caused a significant (P < 0.001) and dose-dependent induction of cardiomyocyte apoptosis at 24-48 h after the injection. Repeated injections of 2.5 mg/kg given every other day resulted in peaks of apoptosis at 24 h after each injection. However, no additive effect of repeated dosing was noted. In histological samples, alterations in the cytoskeletal apparatus with focal loss of contractile elements were seen after a single injection. Myocyte necrosis was absent. Thus, acute doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity involves cardiomyocyte apoptosis, a potentially preventable form of myocardial tissue loss.

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