Document Type : Original Article(s)


1 Assistant Professor, Student Research Committee AND Physiology Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Cardiovascular Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 PhD Candidate, Physiology Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


BACKGROUND: Thalassaemia is a hereditary disorder and has an economic burden on patients and the government. The most prevalent complication in these patients is iron overload which is followed by cardiomyopathy. Digoxin is considered as a treatment against heart failure in thalassaemia. The present study evaluated the effect of two digoxin concentrations on iron content and antioxidative defense in cardiac tissue of iron-overloaded rats.METHODS: The study was conducted on 48 rats which were divided into 6 groups. Group 1 was the control group and did not receive any treatment and group 2 was the iron overload group. In addition groups 3 and 4 were the digoxin control groups which received 1 and 5 mg/kg/day of digoxin, respectively. Groups 5 and 6 received 1 and 5 mg/kg/day of digoxin plus iron-dextran, respectively. After 1 month, malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and total antioxidant status (TAS) were assessed in cardiac tissues.RESULTS: Co-administration of iron-dextran and digoxin (1 and 5 mg/kg/day) significantly increased SOD and TAS levels (P < 0.0010) and reduced MDA (P < 0.0010) in heart tissue compared to control and iron overload groups. GPX levels significantly reduced in groups 5 and 6 (iron + digoxin 1 (P < 0.0500) and iron + digoxin 5) (P < 0.0010) compared to the iron control group.CONCLUSION: Digoxin remarkably facilitates iron uptake by cardiomyocytes by affecting other channels such as L-type and T-type Ca2+ channels (LTCC and TTCC). Digoxin administration in the iron-overloaded rat model deteriorated antioxidative parameters and increased iron entry into heart tissue at higher doses. Therefore, in patients with beta thalassaemia major, digoxin must be administered with great care and serum iron and ferritin must be regularly monitored.


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