The clinical utilization of the combinations of all-trans-retinoic acid (RA) with antiestrogens, which present synergism of action in breast cancer, has been limited by RA adverse effects, including hepatotoxicity, which may be related with mitochondrial damage. This work evaluated the effects of RA alone and in combination with the antiestrogen endoxifen (EDX) on liver mitochondria.Main methods
Mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) was assessed by using Calcium Green-5N fluorescence and a tetraphenylphosphonium selective electrode. Oxidative stress was evaluated by oxygen consumption and thiobarbituric acid method. Mitochondrial bioenergetic was monitored by measuring oxygen consumption and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ). Osmotic volume changes of mitochondria were followed at 540 nm.Key findings
EDX prevents the MPT induced by RA, allowing mitochondria pre-incubated with RA to accumulate Ca2 + and inhibiting the depolarization of ΔΨ. RA above 10 nmol/mg protein depresses the phosphorylation capacity of mitochondria, as shown by the increase in the time required for ADP phosphorylation as well as by the decrease in state 3 respiration. At 20 nmol/mg protein, RA decreases the ΔΨ and increases the state 4 respiration, suggesting that high concentrations of RA permeabilize the membrane to protons, possibly due to a proton leak through the Fo fraction of complex V. Moreover, the effects of RA on mitochondrial bioenergetics are not changed by EDX.Significance
RA-induced hepatotoxicity may be related with induction of MPT and alterations in bioenergetic parameters; the combination with EDX, which reduces mitochondrial dysfunction and synergistically potentiates the anticancer activity, may provide a safer therapeutic strategy.