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Flavaglines Alleviate Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity: Implication of Hsp27
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Author: Yohann Bernard et al.

by Yohann Bernard, Nigel Ribeiro, Frédéric Thuaud, Gülen Türkeri, Ronan Dirr, Mounia Boulberdaa, Canan G. Nebigil, Laurent Désaubry


Despite its effectiveness in the treatment of various cancers, the use of doxorubicin is limited by a potentially fatal cardiomyopathy. Prevention of this cardiotoxicity remains a critical issue in clinical oncology. We hypothesized that flavaglines, a family of natural compounds that display potent neuroprotective effects, may also alleviate doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Our in vitro data established that a pretreatment with flavaglines significantly increased viability of doxorubicin-injured H9c2 cardiomyocytes as demonstrated by annexin V, TUNEL and active caspase-3 assays. We demonstrated also that phosphorylation of the small heat shock protein Hsp27 is involved in the mechanism by which flavaglines display their cardioprotective effect. Furthermore, knocking-down Hsp27 in H9c2 cardiomyocytes completely reversed this cardioprotection. Administration of our lead compound (FL3) to mice attenuated cardiomyocyte apoptosis and cardiac fibrosis, as reflected by a 50% decrease of mortality.


These results suggest a prophylactic potential of flavaglines to prevent doxorubicin-induced cardiac toxicity.