Cytotoxicity and toxicoproteomics analysis of thiazolidinedione exposure in human-derived cardiomyocytes

Al Sultan, Abdullah and Rattray, Zahra and Rattray, Nicholas J. W. (2024) Cytotoxicity and toxicoproteomics analysis of thiazolidinedione exposure in human-derived cardiomyocytes. Journal of Applied Toxicology. ISSN 0260-437X (

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Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) (e.g., pioglitazone and rosiglitazone), known insulin sensitiser agents for type II diabetes mellitus, exhibit controversial effects on cardiac tissue. Despite consensus on their association with increased heart failure risk, limiting TZD use in diabetes management, the underlying mechanisms remain uncharacterised. Herein, we report a comprehensive in vitro investigation utilising a novel toxicoproteomics pipeline coupled with cytotoxicity assays in human adult cardiomyocytes to elucidate mechanistic insights into TZD cardiotoxicity. The cytotoxicity assay findings showed a significant loss of mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate production upon exposure to either TZD agents, which may underpin TZD cardiotoxicity. Our toxicoproteomics analysis revealed that mitochondrial dysfunction primarily stems from oxidative phosphorylation impairment, with distinct signalling mechanisms observed for both agents. The type of cell death differed strikingly between the two agents, with rosiglitazone exhibiting features of caspase-dependent apoptosis and pioglitazone implicating mitochondrial-mediated necroptosis, as evidenced by the protein upregulation in the phosphoglycerate mutase family 5–dynamin-related protein 1 axis. Furthermore, our analysis revealed additional mechanistic aspects of cardiotoxicity, showcasing drug specificity. The downregulation of various proteins involved in protein machinery and protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum was observed in rosiglitazone-treated cells, implicating proteostasis in the rosiglitazone cardiotoxicity. Regarding pioglitazone, the findings suggested the potential activation of the interplay between the complement and coagulation systems and the disruption of the cytoskeletal architecture, which was primarily mediated through the integrin-signalling pathways responsible for pioglitazone-induced myocardial contractile failure. Collectively, this study unlocks substantial mechanistic insight into TZD cardiotoxicity, providing the rationale for future optimisation of antidiabetic therapies.