High-Intensity Exercise Preconditioning Prevents Downregulation of eNOS Expression in the Aorta Following Doxorubicin Treatment
The anthracycline drug Doxorubicin (DOX) is a highly effective treatment for breast cancer, but its clinical utility is limited by dose-dependent cardiovascular toxicity. The toxic effects are partly attributed to DOX-induced generation of reactive oxygen species, which may impair nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation. Exercise training activates antioxidant defense mechanisms and is thus hypothesized to counteract oxidative stress when initiated prior to DOX administration. Adult 8-week old, ovariectomized female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 4 groups: sedentary + vehicle (Sed+Veh); Sed+DOX; exercise + veh (Ex+Veh); and Ex+DOX. Rats in the exercise groups were preconditioned with high intensity interval training consisting of 4x4 minute bouts of exercise at 85-95% of VO2peak separated by 2 minutes of active recovery performed 5 days per week. Exercise was implemented one week prior to the first injection and continued throughout the study. Animals received either DOX (4mg/kg) or veh (saline) intraperitoneal injections bi-weekly for a cumulative dose of 12 mg/kg per animal. Five days following the final injection, animals were anesthetized with isoflurane, decapitated and aortas and perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) were removed for western blot analyses. No significant differences in aortic protein expression were detected for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) or the upstream activator of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), Akt, across groups (p>0.05), whereas eNOS protein expression was significantly downregulated in Sed+DOX (p=0.003). In contrast, eNOS expression was not altered in Ex+DOX treated animals. Protein expression of iNOS in PVAT was upregulated with exercise in the DOX-treated groups (p=0.039). These findings suggest that exercise preconditioning may help mitigate vascular effects of DOX by preventing downregulation of eNOS in the aorta.