Protective effects of endothelin receptor A and B inhibitors against doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy

Biochem Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 15;94(2):109-29. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2015.01.014. Epub 2015 Feb 7.


The clinical efficiency of the highly potent antitumor agent doxorubicin is limited by cardiotoxic effects. In a murine doxorubicin cardiotoxicity model, increased endothelin-1 (ET-1) expression and cardioprotective effects of the dual ET-1 blocker bosentan were demonstrated. To date it is unclear if combined blocking of endothelin A/B receptors is necessary or whether selective inhibition of one of the ET-1 receptors is sufficient for the observed cardioprotection. Therefore, we investigated the impact of dual (bosentan) and single endothelin receptor antagonism through sitaxentan (receptor A blocker) or BQ788 (receptor B blocker) in a murine doxorubicin cardiotoxicity model (C57BL/6N). Simultaneous administration of each endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA) with doxorubicin resulted in a significantly improved hemodynamic performance in comparison to the impaired cardiac function in control mice with bosentan being most effective but closely followed by sitaxentan and also BQ788. This cardioprotection was not caused by diminished doxorubicin levels in heart since the doxorubicin content in cardiac tissue was not altered by ERAs significantly. However, whole transcript expression profiling showed partly different effects of the ERAs on doxorubicin-modulated cardiac gene expression of genes involved in signal transduction (e.g. Stat3, Pim1, Akt1, Plcb2), fibrosis (e.g. Myl4), energy production (e.g. Ant1) or oxidative stress (e.g. Aox1). Furthermore, doxorubicin-mediated gene regulations were verified in the murine cardiomyocyte model HL-1 showing partly reversed expression patterns after co-administration of the ERAs. In summary, our results demonstrate strong cardioprotective effects of blocking ET-1 receptors against the doxorubicin-related cardiomyopathy and provide evidence to potential underlying signaling pathways.

Keywords: Cardiomyopathy; Doxorubicin; Endothelin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / toxicity*
  • Cardiomyopathies / chemically induced
  • Cardiomyopathies / prevention & control*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Doxorubicin / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptor, Endothelin A / drug effects*
  • Receptor, Endothelin B / drug effects*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Receptor, Endothelin A
  • Receptor, Endothelin B
  • Doxorubicin