Doxorubicin is a risk factor for secondary lymphedema in cancer patients exposed to surgery or radiation. The risk is presumed to relate to its cytotoxicity. However, the present study provides initial evidence that doxorubicin directly inhibits lymph flow and this action appears distinct from its cytotoxic activity. We used real-time edge detection to track diameter changes in isolated rat mesenteric lymph vessels. Doxorubicin (0.5-20 mmol/l) progressively constricted lymph vessels and inhibited rhythmic contractions, reducing flow to 24.2% 6 7.7% of baseline. The inhibition of rhythmic contractions by doxorubicin paralleled a tonic rise in cytosolic Ca21 concentration in lymphatic muscle cells, which was prevented by pharmacological antagonism of ryanodine receptors. Washout of doxorubicin partially restored lymph vessel contractions, implying a pharmacological effect. Subsequently, high-speed optical imaging was used to assess the effect of doxorubicin on rat mesenteric lymph flow in vivo. Superfusion of doxorubicin (0.05-10 mmol/l) maximally reduced volumetric lymph flow to 34% 6 11.6% of baseline. Likewise, doxorubicin (10 mg/kg) administered intravenously to establish clinically achievable plasma concentrations also maximally reduced volumetric lymph flow to 40.3% 6 6.0% of initial values. Our findings reveal that doxorubicin at plasma concentrations achieved during chemotherapy opens ryanodine receptors to induce “calcium leak” from the sarcoplasmic reticulum in lymphatic muscle cells and reduces lymph flow, an event linked to lymph vessel damage and the development of lymphedema. These results infer that pharmacological block of ryanodine receptors in lymphatic smooth muscle cells may mitigate secondary lymphedema in cancer patients subjected to doxorubicin chemotherapy.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
|Published - 2019
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine