Nicorandil ameliorates mitochondrial dysfunction in doxorubicin-induced heart failure in rats: Possible mechanism of cardioprotection


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Abstract

Graphical abstractDespite of its known cardiotoxicity, doxorubicin is still a highly effective anti-neoplastic agent in the treatment of several cancers. In the present study, the cardioprotective effect of nicorandil was investigated on hemodynamic alterations and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by cumulative administration of doxorubicin in rats. Doxorubicin was injected i.p. over 2 weeks to obtain a cumulative dose of 18 mg/kg. Nicorandil (3 mg/kg/day) was given orally with or without doxorubicin treatment. Heart rate and aortic blood flow were recorded 24 h after receiving the last dose of doxorubicin. Rats were then sacrificed and hearts were rapidly excised for estimation of caspase-3 activity, phosphocreatine and adenine nucleotides contents in addition to cytochrome c, Bcl2, Bax and caspase 3 expression. Moreover, mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation capacity, creatine kinase activity and oxidative stress markers were measured together with the examination of DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes. Nicorandil was effective in alleviating the decrement of heart rate and aortic blood flow and the state of mitochondrial oxidative stress induced by doxorubicin cardiotoxicity. Nicorandil also preserved phosphocreatine and adenine nucleotides contents by restoring mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation capacity and creatine kinase activity. Moreover, nicorandil provided a significant cardioprotection via inhibition of apoptotic signaling pathway, DNA fragmentation and mitochondrial ultrastructural changes. Interestingly, nicorandil did not interfere with cytotoxic effect of doxorubicin against the growth of solid Ehrlich carcinoma. In conclusion, nicorandil was effective against the development of doxorubicin-induced heart failure in rats as indicated by improvement of hemodynamic perturbations, mitochondrial dysfunction and ultrastructural changes without affecting its antitumor activity.

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