The therapeutic value of doxorubicin as an effective antineoplastic agent is limited by its cardiotoxic side effects. The administration of doxorubicin (10 mg/kg) to male Wistar rats induced necrosis and apoptosis in heart tissues. It also caused oxidative stress damage as evidenced by the elevation of malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl levels and catalase activity, accompanied by the concurrent depletion of total antioxidant capacity and of superoxide dismutase level in cardiac tissues. The doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and oxidative stress damage were also accompanied by increases of myeloperoxidase activity, total calcium content, and the expression of Bcl-2 protein in heart tissues. Most of these doxorubicin-induced biochemical and histological alterations were effectively attenuated by prior administration of purified standardised extract (1.5% withanolides; manufactured by Idea Sphere, Inc., American Fork, UT, USA) of Withania somnifera (300 mg/kg). Thus, Withania may play a role in the protection against cardiotoxicity and thus might be a useful adjuvant therapy where doxorubicin is the cancer-treating drug.
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© 2007 Published by Elsevier Inc.