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Eur J Pharmacol. 2001 Mar 9;415(1):1-11.

Doxorubicin and mechanical performance of cardiac trabeculae after acute and chronic treatment: a review.

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Department of Medical Physiology and Sports Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 85060, NL-3508 AB Utrecht, Netherlands.


Doxorubicin, a very potent and often used anti-cancer drug, has a wide spectrum of biological activity. Classic studies have demonstrated that doxorubicin and other members of the anthracycline family intercalate with DNA and partially uncoil the double-stranded helix. Doxorubicin has a high affinity for cell nuclei: as much as 60% of the total intracellular amount of doxorubicin is found in the nucleus. Once binding to DNA occurs, several consequences may ensue. The binding of anthracyclines to DNA inhibits DNA polymerase and nucleic acid synthesis. In addition, anthracyclines are known to stabilize the otherwise cleavable complex between DNA and homodimeric topoisomerase II enzyme subunits, resulting in the formation of protein-linked DNA double strand breaks. In tumor cells, these anthracycline-induced perturbations are believed to result in a final common pathway of endonucleolytic DNA fragmentation known as apoptosis. Because proliferation is an important determinant of tumor growth, interference with the genome is regarded as the primary cause of the anti-tumor action of doxorubicin. Intercalation with DNA may not be important in the cardiotoxicity associated with doxorubicin therapy (see next section), because cardiac cell proliferation in humans stops after 2 months of age. This review is focussed on the effects of doxorubicin on mechanical performance in skinned cardiac trabeculae after acute and chronic administration of doxorubicin. We look especially at the mechanical performance and the molecular changes observed and related to mechanical performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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