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CaMKII activation participates in doxorubicin cardiotoxicity and is attenuated by moderate GRP78 overexpression

posted on 29.04.2019, 17:34 by Henrike Tscheschner, Eric Meinhardt, Philipp Schlegel, Andreas Jungmann, Lorenz H. Lehmann, Oliver J. Müller, Patrick Most, Hugo A. Katus, Philip W. Raake

The clinical use of the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin (Dox) is limited by cardiotoxic side-effects. One of the early Dox effects is induction of a sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ leak. The chaperone Glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78) is important for Ca2+ homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)—the organelle corresponding to the SR in non-cardiomyocytes—and has been shown to convey resistance to Dox in certain tumors. Our aim was to investigate the effect of cardiac GRP78 gene transfer on Ca2+ dependent signaling, cell death, cardiac function and survival in clinically relevant in vitro and in vivo models for Dox cardiotoxicity.By using neonatal cardiomyocytes we could demonstrate that Dox induced Ca2+ dependent Ca2+ /calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activation is one of the factors involved in Dox cardiotoxicity by promoting apoptosis. Furthermore, we found that adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediated GRP78 overexpression partly protects neonatal cardiomyocytes from Dox induced cell death by modulating Ca2+ dependent pathways like the activation of CaMKII, phospholamban (PLN) and p53 accumulation. Most importantly, cardiac GRP78 gene therapy in mice treated with Dox revealed improved diastolic function (dP/dtmin) and survival after Dox treatment. In conclusion, our results demonstrate for the first time that Ca2+ dependent CaMKII activation fosters Dox cardiomyopathy and provide additional insight into possible mechanisms by which GRP78 overexpression protects cardiomyocytes from Doxorubicin toxicity.