Clinical use of doxorubicin (DOX) is limited because of its cardiotoxicity, referred to as DOX-induced cardiomyopathy (DIC). Mitochondria-dependent ferroptosis, which is triggered by iron overload and excessive lipid peroxidation, plays a pivotal role in the progression of DIC. Here, we showed that DOX accumulated in mitochondria by intercalating into mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), inducing ferroptosis in an mtDNA content-dependent manner. In addition, DOX disrupted heme synthesis by decreasing the abundance of 5'-aminolevulinate synthase 1 (Alas1), the rate-limiting enzyme in this process, thereby impairing iron utilization, resulting in iron overload and ferroptosis in mitochondria in cultured cardiomyocytes. Alas1 overexpression prevented this outcome. Administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), the product of Alas1, to cultured cardiomyocytes and mice suppressed iron overload and lipid peroxidation, thereby preventing DOX-induced ferroptosis and DIC. Our findings reveal that the accumulation of DOX and iron in mitochondria cooperatively induces ferroptosis in cardiomyocytes and suggest that 5-ALA can be used as a potential therapeutic agent for DIC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology