Aims: Doxorubicin (DOX) is among the most effective chemotherapies used in paediatric cancer patients. However, the clinical utility of DOX is offset by its well-known cardiotoxicity, which often does not appear until later in life. Since hypertension significantly increases the risk of late-onset heart failure in childhood cancer survivors, we investigated whether juvenile DOX exposure impairs the ability to adapt to angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced hypertension later in life and tested a treatment that could prevent this.
Methods and results: Five-week-old male mice were administered a low dose of DOX (4 mg/kg) or saline once a week for 3 weeks and then allowed to recover for 5 weeks. Following the 5-week recovery period, mice were infused with Ang II or saline for 2 weeks. In another cohort, mice were fed chow containing 0.4% resveratrol 1 week before, during, and 1 week after the DOX administrations. One week after the last DOX administration, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) was activated in hearts of DOX-treated mice demonstrating molecular signs of cardiac stress; yet, there was no change in cardiac function between groups. However, DOX-treated mice failed to develop compensatory cardiac hypertrophy in response to Ang II-induced hypertension later in life. Of importance, mice receiving DOX with resveratrol co-administration displayed normalization in p38 MAPK activation in the heart and a restored capacity for cardiac hypertrophy in response to Ang II-induced hypertension.
Conclusion: We have developed a juvenile mouse model of DOX-induced cardiotoxicity that displays no immediate overt physiological dysfunction; but, leads to an impaired ability of the heart to adapt to hypertension later in life. We also show that co-administration of resveratrol during DOX treatment was sufficient to normalize molecular markers of cardiotoxicity and restore the ability of the heart to undergo adaptive remodelling in response to hypertension later in life.