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Assessment of acute and chronic toxicity of doxorubicin in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

Abstract: 
The present study assesses acute and chronic toxicity of doxorubicin in human induced pluripotent stem cellderived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs), with the aim to obtain in vitro biomarkers that can be used as readouts to predict in vivo cardiotoxicity. Possible acute toxicity was investigated by assessing effects on the beating rate and the field potential duration (FPD) of doxorubicin-exposed cardiomyocytes by measuring electrical activity using multi-electrode array (MEA) analyses. No effects on the beating rate and FPD were found at concentrations up to 6 μM, whereas at 12 μM no electrical activity was recorded, indicating that the cardiomyocytes stopped beating. Acute and chronic effects of doxorubicin on mitochondria, which have been reported to be affected in doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, were assessed using high content imaging techniques. To this end hiPSCCMs were exposed to 150 or 300 nM doxorubicin using both single dosing (3 h and 2 days) and repetitive dosing (3 times, of 2 days each), including washout studies to assess delayed effects (assessment at day 14) and effects on cell number, mitochondrial density, mitochondrial membrane potential, mitochondrial superoxide levels and mitochondrial calcium levels were assessed. No effects of doxorubicin were found on mitochondrial density and mitochondrial superoxide levels, whereas doxorubicin reduced cell survival and slightly altered mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial calcium levels, which was most profound in the washout studies. Altogether, the results of the present study show that concentrations of doxorubicin in the micromolar range were required to affect electrical activity of hiPSC-CMs, whereas nanomolar concentrations already affected cell viability and caused mitochondrial disturbances. Integration of these data with other in vitro data may enable the selection of a series of in vitro biomarkers that can be used as readouts to screen chemicals for possible cardiotoxicity.