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Pediatr Res. 2008 Nov;64(5):488-94. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e318184d732.

A mouse model for juvenile doxorubicin-induced cardiac dysfunction.

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Riley Heart Research Center, Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana 26202, USA.


Doxorubicin (DOX) is a potent antitumor agent. DOX can also induce cardiotoxicity, and high cumulative doses are associated with recalcitrant heart failure. Children are particularly sensitive to DOX-induced heart failure. The ability to genetically modify mice makes them an ideal experimental system to study the molecular basis of DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. However, most mouse DOX studies rely on acute drug administration in adult animals, which typically are analyzed within 1 wk. Here, we describe a juvenile mouse model of chronic DOX-induced cardiac dysfunction. DOX treatment was initiated at 2 wk of age and continued for a period of 5 wk (25 mg/kg cumulative dose). This resulted in a decline in cardiac systolic function, which was accompanied by marked atrophy of the heart, low levels of cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and decreased growth velocity. Other animals were allowed to recover for 13 wk after the final DOX injection. Cardiac systolic function improved during this recovery period but remained depressed compared with the saline injected controls, despite the reversal of cardiac atrophy. Interestingly, increased levels of cardiomyocyte apoptosis and concomitant myocardial fibrosis were observed after DOX withdrawal. These data suggest that different mechanisms contribute to cardiac dysfunction during the treatment and recovery phases.

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