The adaptor protein p66Shc modulates cellular redox status integrating oxidative stress with mitochondrial stress responses. Upon oxidative stress, p66Shc is translocated to mitochondria or mitochondria-associated membranes in a multi-step process, resulting in locally increased reactive oxygen species production. This signaling pathway is believed to be important in the context of drug-induced organ toxicity. The use of anthracyclines as anticancer agents is limited due to a dose-dependent and cumulative toxicity resulting in cardiomyopathy. Treatment with the anthracycline doxorubicin (DOX) results in a dose-dependent and cumulative cardiotoxicity which is mediated, at least in part, by increased oxidative stress. In the present study, we investigated for the first time whether p66Shc signaling is activated during DOX treatment of the rat cardiomyoblast H9c2 cell line. We further tested whether the transcriptional factor FoxO3a, which activates target genes responsible for apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, is also involved in p66Shc-dependent redox signaling pathway. Our results suggest that DOX treatment induces p66Shc protein up-regulation specifically in nuclear fractions. Increased nuclear expression of FoxO3a was also detected in H9c2 cells after DOX treatment. Treatment with the antioxidant and protein kinase C (PKC-β) inhibitor hispidin decreased DOX-induced activation of caspase 9 and p66Shc alterations. Taking together, we hypothesize that p66Shc signaling is involved in the activation of stress/toxicity responses elicited by the treatment of H9c2 cells with DOX. Hence, the selective inhibition of this redox pathway may be a promising therapeutic approach to circumvent DOX cardiotoxicity.
Keywords: Cardiotoxicity; Doxorubicin; FoxO3a; H9c2 rat cardiomyoblasts; p66Shc.