European journal of histochemistry : EJH

Sodium nitroprusside induces cell death and cytoskeleton degradation in adult rat cardiomyocytes in vitro: implications for anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity.

PMID 22688296


Sodium nitroprusside (SNP) is used clinically as a rapid-acting vasodilator and in experimental models as donor of nitric oxide (NO). High concentrations of NO have been reported to induce cardiotoxic effects including apoptosis by the formation of reactive oxygen species. We have therefore investigated effects of SNP on the myofibrillar cytoskeleton, contractility and cell death in long-term cultured adult rat cardiomyocytes at different time points after treatment. Our results show, that SNP treatment at first results in a gradual increase of cytoskeleton degradation marked by the loss of actin labeling and fragmentation of sarcomeric structure, followed by the appearance of TUNEL-positive nuclei. Already lower doses of SNP decreased contractility of cardiomyocytes paced at 2 Hz without changes of intracellular calcium concentration. Ultrastructural analysis of the cultured cells demonstrated mitochondrial changes and disintegration of sarcomeric alignment. These adverse effects of SNP in cardiomyocytes were reminiscent of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity, which also involves a dysregulation of NO with the consequence of myofibrillar degradation and ultimately cell death. An inhibition of the pathways leading to the generation of reactive NO products, or their neutralization, may be of significant therapeutic benefit for both SNP and anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity.

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Sodium nitroprusside dihydrate, puriss. p.a., ACS reagent, reag. Ph. Eur., Reag. Ph. Eur., ≥99%
C5FeN6Na2O · 2H2O