Honokiol protects against doxorubicin cardiotoxicity via improving mitochondrial function in mouse hearts

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 20;7(1):11989. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12095-y.


Honokiol is a key component of a medicinal herb, Magnolia bark. Honokiol possesses potential pharmacological benefits for many disease conditions, especially cancer. Recent studies demonstrate that Honokiol exerts beneficial effects on cardiac hypertrophy and doxorubicin (Dox)-cardiotoxicity via deacetylation of mitochondrial proteins. However, the effects and mechanisms of Honokiol on cardiac mitochondrial respiration remain unclear. In the present study, we investigate the effect of Honokiol on cardiac mitochondrial respiration in mice subjected to Dox treatment. Oxygen consumption in freshly isolated mitochondria from mice treated with Honokiol showed enhanced mitochondrial respiration. The Dox-induced impairment of mitochondrial respiration was less pronounced in honokiol-treated than control mice. Furthermore, Luciferase reporter assay reveals that Honokiol modestly increased PPARγ transcriptional activities in cultured embryonic rat cardiomyocytes (H9c2). Honokiol upregulated the expression of PPARγ in the mouse heart. Honokiol repressed cardiac inflammatory responses and oxidative stress in mice subjected to Dox treatment. As a result, Honokiol alleviated Dox-cardiotoxicity with improved cardiac function and reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. We conclude that Honokiol protects the heart from Dox-cardiotoxicity via improving mitochondrial function by not only repressing mitochondrial protein acetylation but also enhancing PPARγ activity in the heart. This study further supports Honokiol as a promising therapy for cancer patients receiving Dox treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Biphenyl Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiotoxicity / prevention & control*
  • Cell Respiration / drug effects
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Lignans / administration & dosage*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Oxygen / metabolism


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Lignans
  • honokiol
  • Doxorubicin
  • Oxygen