Up-regulation of NOX1/NADPH oxidase following drug-induced myocardial injury promotes cardiac dysfunction and fibrosis

Free Radic Biol Med. 2018 May 20;120:277-288. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2018.03.053. Epub 2018 Mar 31.


Cardiac fibrosis is a common feature in failing heart and therapeutic strategy to halt the progression of fibrosis is highly needed. We here report on NOX1, a non-phagocytic isoform of superoxide-producing NADPH oxidase, which promotes cardiac fibrosis in a drug-induced myocardial injury model. A single-dose administration of doxorubicin (DOX) elicited cardiac dysfunction accompanied by increased production of reactive oxygen species and marked elevation of NOX1 mRNA in the heart. In mice deficient in Nox1 (Nox1-/Y), cardiac functions were well retained and overall survival was significantly improved. However, increased level of serum creatine kinase was equivalent to that of wild-type mice (Nox1+/Y). At 4 days after DOX treatment, severe cardiac fibrosis accompanied by increased hydroxyproline content and activation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 was demonstrated in Nox1+/Y, but it was significantly attenuated in Nox1-/Y. When H9c2 cardiomyocytes were exposed to their homogenate, a dose-dependent increase in NOX1 mRNA was observed. Up-regulation of NOX1 mRNA in H9c2 co-incubated with their homogenate was abolished in the presence of TAK242, a TLR4 inhibitor. When isolated cardiac fibroblasts were exposed to H9c2 homogenates, increased proliferation and up-regulation of collagen 3a1 mRNA were demonstrated. These changes were significantly attenuated in cardiac fibroblasts exposed to homogenates from H9c2 harboring disrupted Nox1. These findings suggest that up-regulation of NOX1 following cellular damage promotes cardiac dysfunction and fibrosis by aggravating the pro-fibrotic response of cardiac fibroblasts. Modulation of the NOX1/NADPH oxidase signaling pathway may be a novel therapeutic strategy for preventing heart failure after myocardial injury.

Keywords: Cardiac fibrosis; Myocardial injury; NOX1/NADPH oxidase; Reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / toxicity
  • Doxorubicin / toxicity
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Diseases / chemically induced
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism
  • Heart Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology
  • NADPH Oxidase 1 / metabolism*
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Doxorubicin
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • NOX1 protein, mouse