Exercise Mitigates Cardiac Doxorubicin Accumulation and Preserves Function in the Rat

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Doxorubicin (DOX) is an effective antineoplastic agent with well-characterized cardiotoxic effects. Although exercise has been shown to protect against DOX cardiotoxicity, a clear and concise mechanism to explain its cardioprotective effects is lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine if exercise training reduces cardiac DOX accumulation, thereby providing a possible mechanism to explain the cardioprotective effects of exercise against DOX toxicity.


Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 primary experimental groups: sedentary (n = 77), wheel running (n = 65), or treadmill (n = 65). Animals in wheel running and treadmill groups completed 10 weeks of exercise before DOX treatment. DOX was administered 24 hours after the last training session as a bolus intraperitoneal injection at 10 mg/kg. Subgroups of rats from each primary group were killed at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 days after DOX exposure to assess cardiac function and DOX accumulation.


Ten weeks of exercise preconditioning reduced myocardial DOX accumulation, and this reduction in accumulation was associated with preserved cardiac function.


These data suggest that the cardioprotective effects of exercise against DOX-induced injury may be due, in part, to a reduction in myocardial DOX accumulation.

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