Key Points

  • Cfz decreases left ventricular function in mice through increased PP2A activity and inhibition of AMPKα/autophagy regulatory axes.

  • Met preserves left ventricular function in mice by restoring AMPKα activation; thus, it emerges as a prophylactic therapy.


Carfilzomib (Cfz), an irreversible proteasome inhibitor licensed for relapsed/refractory myeloma, is associated with cardiotoxicity in humans. We sought to establish the optimal protocol of Cfz-induced cardiac dysfunction, to investigate the underlying molecular-signaling and, based on the findings, to evaluate the cardioprotective potency of metformin (Met). Mice were randomized into protocols 1 and 2 (control and Cfz for 1 and 2 consecutive days, respectively); protocols 3 and 4 (control and alternate doses of Cfz for 6 and 14 days, respectively); protocols 5A and 5B (control and Cfz, intermittent doses on days 0, 1 [5A] and 0, 1, 7, and 8 [5B] for 13 days); protocols 6A and 6B (pharmacological intervention; control, Cfz, Cfz+Met and Met for 2 and 6 days, respectively); and protocol 7 (bortezomib). Cfz was administered at 8 mg/kg (IP) and Met at 140 mg/kg (per os). Cfz resulted in significant reduction of proteasomal activity in heart and peripheral blood mononuclear cells in all protocols except protocols 5A and 5B. Echocardiography demonstrated that Cfz led to a significant fractional shortening (FS) depression in protocols 2 and 3, a borderline dysfunction in protocols 1 and 4, and had no detrimental effect on protocols 5A and 5B. Molecular analysis revealed that Cfz inhibited AMPKα/mTORC1 pathways derived from increased PP2A activity in protocol 2, whereas it additionally inhibited phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase pathway in protocol 3. Coadministration of Met prevented Cfz-induced FS reduction and restored AMPKα phosphorylation and autophagic signaling. Conclusively, Cfz decreased left ventricular function through increased PP2A activity and inhibition of AMPKα and its downstream autophagic targets, whereas Met represents a novel promising intervention against Cfz-induced cardiotoxicity.

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