Long-acting phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor tadalafil attenuates doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy without interfering with chemotherapeutic effect. Academic Article uri icon


  • Doxorubicin (DOX) is one of the most effective anticancer drugs. However, its cardiotoxicity remains a clinical concern that severely restricts its therapeutic usage. We designed this study to investigate whether tadalafil, a long-acting phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitor, protects against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. We also sought to delineate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying tadalafil-induced cardioprotection. Male CF-1 outbred mice were randomized into three groups (n = 15-24/group) to receive either saline (0.2 ml i.p.), DOX (15 mg/kg, given by a single intraperitoneal injection), or tadalafil (4 mg/kg p.o. daily for 9 days) plus DOX. Left ventricular function was subsequently assessed by transthoracic echocardiography and Millar conductance catheter. Cardiac contractile function was impaired by DOX, and it was significantly improved by cotreatment with tadalafil. Tadalafil attenuated DOX-induced apoptosis and depletion of prosurvival proteins, including Bcl-2 and GATA-4, in myocardium. Cardiac oxidative stress was attenuated and antioxidant capacity was enhanced by tadalafil possibly via up-regulation of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). Moreover, the tadalafil-treated group demonstrated increased cardiac cGMP level and protein kinase G (PKG) activity. Tadalafil did not interfere with the efficacy of DOX in killing human osteosarcoma cells in vitro or its antitumor effect in vivo in tumor xenograft model. We conclude that tadalafil improved left ventricular function and prevented cardiomyocyte apoptosis in DOX-induced cardiomyopathy through mechanisms involving up-regulation of cGMP, PKG activity, and MnSOD level without interfering with the chemotherapeutic benefits of DOX.

published proceedings

  • J Pharmacol Exp Ther

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Koka, S., Das, A., Zhu, S., Durrant, D., Xi, L., & Kukreja, R. C.

citation count

  • 87

complete list of authors

  • Koka, Saisudha||Das, Anindita||Zhu, Shu-Guang||Durrant, David||Xi, Lei||Kukreja, Rakesh C

publication date

  • September 2010