Modeling Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiomyopathy With Fibrotic Myocardial Damage in Wistar Rats

Ekaterina Podyacheva, Tatiana Shmakova, Ekaterina Kushnareva, Anatoliya Onopchenko, Mikhail Martynov, Daria Andreeva, Roman Toropov, Yuri Cheburkin, Ksenia Levchuk, Alexandra Goldaeva, Yana Toropova


Background: Cardiovascular complications, arising after anthracycline chemotherapy, cause a significant deterioration in the life quality and expectancy of those patients who were previously successfully treated for malignant neoplasms. A number of clinical studies have demonstrated that patients with cardiotoxicity manifested during anthracyclines therapy also have extensive fibrotic changes in the cardiac muscle in the long term. Given the lack of an unambiguous understanding of the mechanisms of fibrotic changes formation under doxorubicin treatment in the myocardium, there is the obvious necessity to create a relevant experimental model of chronic doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy with fibrotic myocardial lesions and delayed development of diastolic dysfunction.

Methods: The study was divided into two stages: first stage (creation of acute doxorubicin cardiomyopathy) - 35 male Wistar rats; second stage (creation of chronic doxorubicin cardiomyopathy) - 40 male Wistar rats. The animals were split into eight groups (two control ones and six experimental ones), which determined the doxorubicin dose (first stage: 25, 20.4, 15 mg/kg; second stage: 5, 10, 15 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) and the frequency of injection. Echocardiographic, hematological, histological, and molecular methods were used to confirm the successful modeling of acute and chronic doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy with fibrotic lesions.

Results: A model of administration six times every other day with a cumulative dose of doxorubicin 20 mg/kg is suitable for evaluation of acute cardiotoxicity. The 15 mg/kg doxorubicin dose is highly cardiotoxic; whats more, it correlates with progressive deterioration of the clinical condition of the animals after 2 months. The optimal cumulative dose of doxorubicin leads to clinical manifestations confirmed by echocardiographic, histological, molecular changes associated with the development of chronic doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy with fibrotic lesions of the left ventricular of the cardiac muscle and ensure long-term survival of animals is 10 mg/kg doxorubicin. A dose of 5 mg/kg of the doxorubicin does not ensure the development of fibrous changes formation.

Conclusion: We assume that cumulative dose of 10 mg/kg with a frequency of administration of six times in 2 days can be used to study the mechanisms of anthracycline cardiomyopathy development.

Cardiol Res. 2022;13(6):339-356


Anthracyclines; Cardiotoxicity; Diastolic dysfunction; Heart failing; Modeling; Myocardial fibrosis

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