Dietary cyanidin 3-glucoside from purple corn ameliorates doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in mice

K. Petroni, M. Trinei, M. Fornari, V. Calvenzani, A. Marinelli, L. A. Micheli, R. Pilu, A. Matros, H. P. Mock, C. Tonelli, M. Giorgio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims Anthracyclines are effective anticancer drugs that have improved prognosis of hundred thousand cancer patients worldwide and are currently the most common chemotherapeutic agents used for the treatment of blood, breast, ovarian and lung cancers. However, their use is limited because of a cumulative dose-dependent and irreversible cardiotoxicity that can cause progressive cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. Aim of the present study was to determine the cardioprotective activity of a dietary source of cyanidin 3-glucoside (C3G), such as purple corn, against doxorubicin (DOX)-induced cardiotoxicity in mice. Methods and results In vitro studies on murine HL-1 cardiomyocytes showed that pretreatment with both pure C3G and purple corn extract improved survival upon DOX treatment. However, C3G and purple corn extract did not affect the cytotoxic effect of DOX on human cancer cell lines. We then validated in vivo the protective role of a C3G-enriched diet against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity by comparing the effect of dietary consumption of corn isogenic lines with high levels of anthocyanins (purple corn – Red diet – RD) or without anthocyanins (yellow corn – Yellow diet – YD) incorporated in standard rodent diets. Results showed that mice fed RD survived longer than mice fed YD upon injection of a toxic amount of DOX. In addition, ultrastructural analysis of hearts from mice fed RD showed reduced histopathological alterations. Conclusion Dietary intake of C3G from purple corn protects mice against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • Anthocyanins
  • Cardioprotection
  • Doxorubicin
  • Purple corn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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