Protective effects of protocatechuic acid against doxorubicin- and arsenic trioxide-induced toxicity in cardiomyocytes

Fatemeh Shafiee , Leila Safaeian , Fatemeh Gorbani


Background and purpose: Some chemotherapeutic drugs are associated with an increased risk of cardiotoxicity in patients. Protocatechuic acid (PCA) is a phenolic acid with valuable cardiovascular, chemo-preventive, and anticancer activities. Recent studies have shown the cardioprotective effects of PCA in several pathological conditions. This investigation aimed to assess the possible protective effects of PCA on cardiomyocytes against toxicities caused by anti-neoplastic agents, doxorubicin (DOX), and arsenic trioxide (ATO).

Experimental approach: H9C2 cells were exposed to DOX (1 μM) or ATO (35 μM) after 24 h pretreatment with PCA (1-100 µM). MTT and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) tests were used to define cell viability or cytotoxicity. Total oxidant and antioxidant capacities were evaluated by measuring hydroperoxides and ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) levels. Expression of the TLR4 gene was also quantitatively estimated by real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Findings/Results: PCA showed a proliferative effect on cardiomyocytes and significantly enhanced cell viability and reduced cytotoxicity of DOX and ATO during MTT and LDH assays. Pretreatment of cardiomyocytes with PCA significantly decreased hydroperoxide levels and elevated FRAP value. Moreover, PCA meaningfully decreased TLR4 expression in DOX- and ATO-treated cardiomyocytes.

Conclusions and implications: In conclusion, antioxidant and cytoprotective activities were found for PCA versus toxicities caused by DOX and ATO in cardiomyocytes. However, further in vivo investigations are recommended to assess its clinical value for the prevention and treatment of cardiotoxicity induced by chemotherapeutic agents.


Arsenic trioxide; Cardiomyocytes; Cardiotoxicity; Doxorubicin; Protocatechuic acid.

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