Inhibition of chymotryptic-like standard proteasome activity exacerbates doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity in primary cardiomyocytes


  • E.M. Spur
  • N. Althof
  • D. Respondek
  • K. Klingel
  • A. Heuser
  • H.S. Overkleeft
  • A. Voigt


  • Toxicology


  • Toxicology 353-354: 34-47


  • The anthracycline doxorubicin (DOX) is a potent anticancer agents for multiple myeloma (MM). A major limitation of this drug is the induction of death in cardiomyocytes leading to heart failure. Here we report on the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) as a critical surveillance pathway for preservation of cell vitality counteracting DOX treatment. Since in addition to DOX also suppression of proteasome activity is a rational therapeutic strategy for MM, we examined how small molecular compounds with clinically relevant proteasome subunit specificity affect DOX cytotoxicity. We found that during DOX-treatment, the activity of the β5 standard proteasome subunit is crucial for limiting off-target cytotoxicity in primary cardiomyocytes. In contrast, we demonstrate that the β5 equivalent LMP7 of the immunoproteasome represents a safe target for subunit-specific inhibitors in DOX-exposed cardiomyocytes. Neither inhibition of LMP7 in primary cardiomyocytes nor genetic ablation of LMP7 in heart tissue influenced the development of DOX cardiotoxicity. Our results indicate that as compared to compounds like carfilzomib, which target both the β5 standard proteasome and the LMP7 immunoproteasome subunit, immunoproteasome-specific inhibitors with known anti-tumor capacity for MM cells might be advantageous for reducing cardiomyocyte death, when a combination therapy with DOX is envisaged.