Background: Empagliflozin (EMPA), a selective inhibitor of the sodium glucose co-transporter 2, reduced the risk of hospitalization for heart failure and cardiovascular death in type 2 diabetic patients in the EMPA‐REG OUTCOME trial. Recent trials evidenced several cardio-renal benefits of EMPA in non-diabetic patients through the involvement of biochemical pathways that are still to be deeply analysed. We aimed to evaluate the effects of EMPA on myocardial strain of non-diabetic mice treated with doxorubicin (DOXO) through the analysis of NLRP3 inflammasome and MyD88-related pathways resulting in anti-apoptotic and anti-fibrotic effects. Methods: Preliminary cellular studies were performed on mouse cardiomyocytes (HL-1 cell line) exposed to doxorubicin alone or combined to EMPA. The following analysis were performed: determination of cell viability (through a modified MTT assay), study of intracellular ROS production, lipid peroxidation (quantifying intracellular malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal), intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis. Moreover, pro-inflammatory studies were also performed: expression of NLRP3 inflammasome, MyD88 myddosome and p65/NF-κB associated to secretion of cytokines involved in cardiotoxicity (Interleukins 1β, 8, 6). C57Bl/6 mice were untreated (Sham, n = 6) or treated for 10 days with doxorubicin (DOXO, n = 6), EMPA (EMPA, n = 6) or doxorubicin combined to EMPA (DOXO-EMPA, n = 6). DOXO was injected intraperitoneally. Ferroptosis and xanthine oxidase were studied before and after treatments. Cardiac function studies, including EF, FS and radial/longitudinal strain were analysed through transthoracic echocardiography (Vevo 2100). Cardiac fibrosis and apoptosis were histologically studied through Picrosirius red and TUNEL assay, respectively and quantified through pro-collagen-1α1, MMP-9 and Caspase-3 expression. Tissue NLRP3, MyD88 and cytokines were also quantified before and after treatments through ELISA methods. Results: Cardiomyocytes exposed to doxorubicin increased the intracellular Ca2+ content and expression of several pro-inflammatory markers associated to cell death; co-incubation with EMPA reduced significantly the magnitude of the effects. In preclinical study, EMPA increased EF and FS compared to DOXO groups (p < 0.05), prevented the reduction of radial and longitudinal strain after 10 days of treatment with doxorubicin (RS) 30.3% in EMPA-DOXO vs 15.7% in DOXO mice; LS − 17% in EMPA-DOXO vs – 11.7% in DOXO mice (p < 0.001 for both). Significant reductions in ferroptosis, xanthine oxidase expression, cardiac fibrosis and apoptosis in EMPA associated to DOXO were also seen. A reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, NLRP3, MyD88 and NF-kB in heart, liver and kidneys was also seen in DOXO-EMPA group compared to DOXO (p < 0.001). Conclusion: EMPA reduced ferroptosis, fibrosis, apoptosis and inflammation in doxorubicin-treated mice through the involvement of NLRP3 and MyD88-related pathways, resulting in significant improvements in cardiac functions. These findings provides the proof of concept for translational studies designed to reduce adverse cardiovascular outcomes in non-diabetic cancer patients treated with doxorubicin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine