Role of heat shock factor-1 activation in the doxorubicin-induced heart failure in mice

Kaushik Vedam, Yoshinori Nishijima, Lawrence J. Druhan, Mahmood Khan, Nicanor I. Moldovan, Jay L. Zweier, Govindasamy Ilangovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Treating cancer patients with chemotherapeutics, such as doxorubicin (Dox), cause dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure because of oxidative stress. On the other hand, heat shock factor-1 (HSF-1), a transcription factor for heat shock proteins (Hsps), is also known to be activated in response to oxidative stress. However, the possible role of HSF-1 activation and the resultant Hsp25 in chemotherapeutic-induced heart failure has not been investigated. Using HSF-1 wild-type (HSF-1+/+) and knockout (HSF-1-/-) mice, we tested the hypothesis that activation of HSF-1 plays a role in the development of Dox-induced heart failure. Higher levels of Hsp25 and its phosphorylated forms were found in the failing hearts of Dox-treated HSF-1+/+ mice. More than twofold increase in Hsp25 mRNA level was found in Dox-treated hearts. Proteomic analysis showed that there is accumulation and aggregation of Hsp25 in Dox-treated failing hearts. Additionally, Hsp25 was found to coimmunoprecipitate with p53 and vice versa. Further studies indicated that the Dox-induced higher levels of Hsp25 transactivated p53 leading to higher levels of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax, but other p53-related proteins remained unaltered. Moreover, HSF-1-/- mice showed significantly reduced Dox-induced heart failure and higher survival rate, and there was no change in Bax upon treating with Dox in HSF-1 -/- mice. From these results we propose a novel mechanism for Dox-induced heart failure: increased expression of Hsp25 because of oxidant-induced activation of HSF-1 transactivates p53 to increase Bax levels, which leads to heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Heat shock proteins
  • Oxidative stress
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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