Probucol Attenuates Cyclophosphamide-induced Oxidative Apoptosis, p53 and Bax Signal Expression in Rat Cardiac Tissues
Cyclophosphamide (CP) is a widely used drug in cancer chemotherapy and immunosuppression, which could cause toxicity of the normal cells due to its toxic metabolites. Probucol, a cholesterol-lowering drug, acts as potential inhibitor of DNA damage and shows to protect against doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy by enhancing the endogenous antioxidant system including glutathione peroxidase, catalase and superoxide dismutase. This study examined the possible protective effects of probucol, a lipid-lowering compound with strong antioxidant properties, against CPinduced cardiotoxicity. This objective could be achieved through studying the gene expression-based on the possible protective effects of probucol against CP-induced cardiac failure in rats. Adult male Wistar albino rats were assigned into four treatment groups: Animals in the first (control) and second (probucol) groups were injected intraperitoneally with corn oil and probucol (61 mg/kg/day), respectively, for two weeks. Animals in the third (CP) and fourth (probucol plus CP) groups were injected with the same doses of corn oil and probucol (61 mg/kg/day), respectively, for one week before and one week after a single dose of CP (200 mg/kg, I.P.). The p53, Bax, Bcl2 and oxidative genes signal expression were measured by real time PCR. CP-induced cardiotoxicity was clearly observed by a significant increase in serum creatine phosphokinase isoenzyme (CK-MB) (117%), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (64%), free (69%) and esterified cholesterol (42%) and triglyceride (69%) compared to control group. In cardiac tissues, CP significantly increases the mRNA expression levels of apoptotic genes, p53 with two-fold and Bax with 1.6-fold, and decreases the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2 with 0.5-fold. Moreover, CP caused downregulation of antioxidant genes, glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase and increased the lipid peroxidation and decreased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (40%) and ATP/ADP (44%) in cardiac tissues. Probucol pretreatment not only counteracted significantly the CP-induced increase in cardiac enzymes and apoptosis but also induced a significant increase in mRNA expression of antioxidant enzymes and improved ATP, ATP/ADP, glutathione (GSH) in cardiac tissues. In conclusion, data from the present study suggest that probucol prevents the development of CP-induced cardiotoxicity by a mechanism related, at least in part, to its ability to increase mRNA expression of antioxidant genes and to decrease apoptosis in cardiac tissues with the consequent improvement in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and energy production.