Resveratrol-induced autophagy promotes survival and attenuates doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity

Int Immunopharmacol. 2016 Mar;32:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2016.01.002. Epub 2016 Jan 12.


Resveratrol (RSV) has many biological effects, including antitumor and antiviral activities, and vascular protection. Recent studies have suggested that RSV exerts its antitumor effects through induction of autophagy by an unknown mechanism. Doxorubicin (DOX) is a wide spectrum antitumor drug, but its clinical application is limited by its cardiotoxicity. This study evaluated whether the manipulation of autophagy could attenuate the cardiotoxic effects of DOX in vitro as well as in a rat model of DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. We found that DOX induced H9C2 cell apoptosis by inhibiting AMPK activation and promoting pro-apoptotic protein expression through p38MAPK/p53 signaling. RSV-treated H9C2 cells showed increased autophagy through the AMPK/mTOR/Ulk1 pathway. When DOX and RSV were combined, apoptosis was decreased, despite a slight increase in the autophagy ratio. The same result was observed in the rat model of DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. Injection with DOX or RSV alone, or in combination, for a week, resulted in a reduced apoptotic ratio in the combination group compared with the DOX alone group. Our results strongly indicate that this co-treatment strategy with RSV can attenuate the cardiotoxic effects of DOX. Our findings may have important clinical implications.

Keywords: Autophagy; Cardiotoxicity; Chemotherapy; Doxorubicin; Resveratrol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Cardiotoxicity / drug therapy*
  • Cardiotoxicity / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Stilbenes
  • Doxorubicin
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Resveratrol