The use of DOX (doxorubicin), an antibiotic used in oncological treatments, is limited by a dose-related cardiotoxicity against which acute exercise is protective. However, the mitochondrial-related mechanisms of this protection remain unknown. Therefore the present study aimed to determine the effects of an acute endurance exercise bout performed 24 h before DOX treatment on heart and liver mitochondrial function. A total of 20 adult male Wistar rats were divided into groups as follows: non-exercised with saline (NE+SAL), non-exercised DOX-treated (NE+DOX), exercised with saline (EX+SAL) and exercised DOX-treated (EX+DOX). The animals performed a 60 min exercise bout on a treadmill or remained sedentary 24 h before receiving either a DOX bolus (20 mg/kg of body weight) or saline. Heart and liver mitochondrial function [oxygen consumption, membrane potential (ΔΨ) and cyclosporin-A-sensitive calcium-induced MPTP (mitochondrial permeability transition pore) opening] were evaluated. The activities of the respiratory complex, Mn-SOD (superoxide dismutase), caspases 3 and 9, as well as the levels of ANT (adenine nucleotide translocase), VDAC (voltage-dependent anion channel), CypD (cyclophilin D), Bax and Bcl-2, were measured. Acute exercise prevented the decreased cardiac mitochondrial function (state 3, phosphorylative lag-phase; maximal ΔΨ generated both with complex I- and II-linked substrates and calcium-induced MPTP opening) induced by DOX treatment. Exercise also prevented the DOX-induced decreased activity of cardiac mitochondrial chain complexes I and V, and increased caspase 3 and 9 activities. DOX administration and exercise caused increased cardiac mitochondrial SOD activity. Exercise ameliorated liver mitochondrial complex activities. No alterations were observed in the measured MPTP and apoptosis-related proteins in heart and liver mitochondria. The results demonstrate that acute exercise protects against cardiac mitochondrial dysfunction, preserving mitochondrial phosphorylation capacity and attenuating DOX-induced decreased tolerance to MPTP opening.

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