C-phycocyanin ameliorates doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis in adult rat cardiomyocytes.
Doxorubicin (DOX), a potent antineoplastic agent, poses limitations for its therapeutic use due to the associated risk of developing cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. The cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin is associated with oxidative stress and apoptosis. We have recently shown that Spirulina, a blue-green alga with potent antioxidant properties, offered significant protection against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in mice. The aim of the present study was to establish the possible protective role of C-phycocyanin, one of the active ingredients of Spirulina, against doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis. The study was carried out using cardiomyocytes isolated from adult rat hearts. Doxorubicin significantly enhanced the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells as measured by the 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate and dihydroethidium fluorescence. The doxorubicin-induced reactive oxygen species formation was significantly attenuated in cells pretreated with C-phycocyanin. It was further observed that the doxorubicin-induced DNA fragmentation and apoptosis, as assayed by TUNEL assay and flow cytometry coupled with BrdU-FITC/propidium iodide staining, were markedly attenuated by C-phycocyanin. C-phycocyanin also significantly attenuated the doxorubicin-induced increase in the expression of Bax protein, release of cytochrome c, and increase in the activity of caspase-3 in cells. In summary, C-phycocyanin ameliorated doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis in cardiomyocytes. This study further supports the crucial role of the antioxidant nature of C-phycocyanin in its cardioprotection against doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis.