Rosiglitazone causes cardiotoxicity via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ-independent mitochondrial oxidative stress in mouse hearts

Toxicol Sci. 2014 Apr;138(2):468-81. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfu015. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


This study aims to test the hypothesis that thiazolidinedione rosiglitazone (RSG), a selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) agonist, causes cardiotoxicity independently of PPARγ. Energy metabolism and mitochondrial function were measured in perfused hearts isolated from C57BL/6, cardiomyocyte-specific PPARγ-deficient mice, and their littermates. Cardiac function and mitochondrial oxidative stress were measured in both in vitro and in vivo settings. Treatment of isolated hearts with RSG at the supratherapeutic concentrations of 10 and 30 μM caused myocardial energy deficiency as evidenced by the decreases in [PCr], [ATP], ATP/ADP ratio, energy charge with a concomitant cardiac dysfunction as indicated by the decreases in left ventricular systolic pressure, rates of tension development and relaxation, and by an increase in end-diastolic pressure. When incubated with tissue homogenate or isolated mitochondria at these same concentrations, RSG caused mitochondrial dysfunction as evidenced by the decreases in respiration rate, substrate oxidation rates, and activities of complexes I and IV. RSG also increased complexes I- and III-dependent O₂⁻ production, decreased glutathione content, inhibited superoxide dismutase, and increased the levels of malondialdehyde, protein carbonyl, and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine in mitochondria, consistent with oxidative stress. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) 20 mM prevented RSG-induced above toxicity at those in vitro settings. Cardiomyocyte-specific PPARγ deletion and PPARγ antagonist GW9662 did not prevent the observed cardiotoxicity. Intravenous injection of 10 mg/kg RSG also caused cardiac dysfunction and oxidative stress, 600 mg/kg NAC antagonized these adverse effects. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that RSG at supratherapeutic concentrations causes cardiotoxicity via a PPARγ-independent mechanism involving oxidative stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in mouse hearts.

Keywords: PPARγ; Rosiglitazone; cardiac function; energy metabolism; mitochondria; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anilides / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cardiotoxins / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart Function Tests
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria, Heart / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • PPAR gamma / agonists
  • PPAR gamma / antagonists & inhibitors
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism*
  • Perfusion
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Thiazolidinediones / toxicity*


  • 2-chloro-5-nitrobenzanilide
  • Anilides
  • Cardiotoxins
  • PPAR gamma
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Rosiglitazone