Astaxanthin attenuates alcoholic cardiomyopathy via inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated cardiac apoptosis.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2020 Dec 19:115378. Epub 2020 Dec 19. PMID: 33352188
Chronic excessive ethanol consumption is associated with a high incidence of mortality due to ethanol-induced dilated cardiomyopathy, known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM). Mechanistic studies have demonstrated that apoptosis is key to the pathogenesis of ACM, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-associated apoptosis contributes to various ethanol-related diseases. Astaxanthin (AST) is a natural carotenoid that exerts an anti-ER stress effect. Importantly, strong evidence has shown that AST induces beneficial effects in various cardiovascular diseases. The present study aimed to investigate whether AST induces beneficial effects on ACM by suppressing cardiac apoptosis mediated by ER stress. We showed that after 2 months of chronic excessive ethanol consumption, mice displayed obvious cardiac dysfunction and morphological changes associated with increased fibrosis, oxidative stress, ER stress and apoptosis. However, cardiac damage above was attenuated in response to AST treatment. The cardioprotective effect of AST against ethanol toxicity was also confirmed in both H9c2 cells and primary cardiomyocytes, indicating that AST-induced protection directly targets cardiomyocytes. Both in vivo and in vitro studies showed that AST inhibited all three ER stress signaling pathways activated by ethanol. Furthermore, administration of the ER stress inhibitor sodium 4-phenylbutyrate (4-PBA) strongly suppressed ethanol-induced cardiomyocyte damage. Interestingly, AST induced further anti-apoptotic effects once co-treated with 4-PBA, indicating that AST protects the heart from ACM partially by attenuating ERstress, but other mechanisms still exist. This study highlights that administration of AST ablated chronic excessive ethanol consumption-induced cardiomyopathy by suppressing cardiac ER stress and subsequent apoptosis.