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Biophys J. 2009 Feb 18;96(4):1388-98. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2008.10.042.

Doxorubicin inactivates myocardial cytochrome c oxidase in rats: cardioprotection by Mito-Q.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics and Free Radical Research Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.


Doxorubicin (DOX) is used for treating various cancers. Its clinical use is, however, limited by its dose-limiting cardiomyopathy. The exact mechanism of DOX-induced cardiomyopathy still remains unknown. The goals were to investigate the molecular mechanism of DOX-induced cardiomyopathy and cardioprotection by mitoquinone (Mito-Q), a triphenylphosphonium-conjugated analog of coenzyme Q, using a rat model. Rats were treated with DOX, Mito-Q, and DOX plus Mito-Q for 12 weeks. The left ventricular function as measured by two-dimensional echocardiography decreased in DOX-treated rats but was preserved during Mito-Q plus DOX treatment. Using low-temperature ex vivo electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), a time-dependent decrease in heme signal was detected in heart tissues isolated from rats administered with a cumulative dose of DOX. DOX attenuated the EPR signals characteristic of the exchange interaction between cytochrome c oxidase (CcO)-Fe(III) heme a3 and CuB. DOX and Mito-Q together restored these EPR signals and the CcO activity in heart tissues. DOX strongly downregulated the stable expression of the CcO subunits II and Va and had a slight inhibitory effect on CcO subunit I gene expression. Mito-Q restored CcO subunit II and Va expressions in DOX-treated rats. These results suggest a novel cardioprotection mechanism by Mito-Q during DOX-induced cardiomyopathy involving CcO.

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