The endogenous defenses of the mouse heart against reactive oxygen metabolites were investigated. The activities of three enzymes capable of detoxifying activated oxygen were determined in both the heart and liver; cardiac muscle contains 150 times less catalase and nearly four times less superoxide dismutase than liver. Glutathione peroxidase activities were, however, similar to the two tissues. Assay of glutathione peroxidase in the heart after 6 wk of selenium depletion with both hydrogen peroxide and cumene hydroperoxide as substrates revealed a >80% drop in enzyme activity and gave no indication that murine cardiac tissue contains nonselenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase. The selenium-deficient state, which was characterized by markedly decreased cardiac glutathione peroxidase levels, led to significantly enhanced doxorubicin toxicity at a dose of 15 mg/kg i.p.
James H. Doroshow, Gershon Y. Locker, C. E. Myers