Cardiotoxic effects of short-term doxorubicin administration: Involvement of connexin 43 in calcium impairment

Michela Pecoraro, Antonio Rodríguez-Sinovas, Stefania Marzocco, Michele Ciccarelli, Guido Iaccarino, Aldo Pinto, Ada Popolo

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    © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The use of Doxorubicin (DOXO), a potent antineoplastic agent, is limited by the development of cardiotoxicity. DOXO-induced cardiotoxicity is multifactorial, although alterations in calcium homeostasis, seem to be involved. Since even the Connexin43 (Cx43) plays a pivotal role in these two phenomena, in this study we have analyzed the effects of DOXO on Cx43 expression and localization. Damage caused by anthracyclines on cardiomyocytes is immediate after each injection, in the present study we used a short-term model of DOXO-induced cardiomyopathy. C57BL/6j female mice were randomly divided in groups and injected with DOXO (2 or 10 mg/kg i.p.) for 1-3 or 7 days once every other day. Cardiac function was assessed by Echocardiography. Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCAII) and phospholamban (PLB) expression were assessed by Western blot analysis, intracellular [Ca2+] were detected spectrofluorometrically by means of Fura-2 pentakis (acetoxymethyl) ester (FURA-2AM), and Cx43 and pCx43 expression and localization was analyzed by Western blot and confirmed by immunofluorescence analysis. DOXO induces impairment in Ca2+ homeostasis, already evident after a single administration, and affects Cx43 expression and localization. Our data suggest that DOXO-induced alterations in Ca2+ homeostasis causes in the cells the induction of compensatory mechanisms until a certain threshold, above which cardiac injury is triggered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2121
    JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017


    • Calcium homeostasis
    • Cardiotoxicity
    • Connexin 43
    • Doxorubicin
    • Mitochondria


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