JOURNAL ARTICLE

Berberine inhibits doxorubicin-triggered cardiomyocyte apoptosis via attenuating mitochondrial dysfunction and increasing Bcl-2 expression

Xiuxiu Lv, Xiaohui Yu, Yiyang Wang, Faqiang Wang, Hongmei Li, Yanping Wang, Daxiang Lu, Renbin Qi, Huadong Wang
PloS One 2012, 7 (10): e47351
23077597
Cardiomyocyte apoptosis is an important event in doxorubicin (DOX)-induced cardiac injury. The aim of the present study was to investigate the protection of berberine (Ber) against DOX- triggered cardiomyocyte apoptosis in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes and rats. In neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, Ber attenuated DOX-induced cellular injury and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. However, Ber has no significant effect on viability of MCF-7 breast cancer cells treated with DOX. Ber reduced caspase-3 and caspase-9, but not caspase-8 activity in DOX-treated cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, Ber decreased adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) and p53 phosphorylation at 2 h, cytosolic cytochrome c and mitochondrial Bax levels and increased Bcl-2 level at 6 h in DOX-stimulated cardiomyocytes. Pretreatment with compound C, an AMPK inhibitor, also suppressed p53 phosphorylation and apoptosis in DOX-treated cardiomyocytes. DOX stimulation for 30 min led to a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and a rise in the AMP/ATP ratio. Ber markedly reduced DOX-induced mitochondrial membrane potential loss and an increase in the AMP/ATP ratio at 1 h and 2 h post DOX exposure. In in vivo experiments, Ber significantly improved survival, increased stroke volume and attenuated myocardial injury in DOX-challenged rats. TUNEL and Western blot assays showed that Ber not only decreased myocardial apoptosis, caspase-3 activation, AMPKα and p53 phosphorylation, but also increased Bcl-2 expression in myocardium of rats exposed to DOX for 84 h. These findings indicate that Ber attenuates DOX-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis via protecting mitochondria, inhibiting an increase in the AMP/ATP ratio and AMPKα phosphorylation as well as elevating Bcl-2 expression, which offer a novel mechanism responsible for protection of Ber against DOX-induced cardiomyopathy.

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