Fisetin protects against cardiac cell death through reduction of ROS production and caspases activity

Sophie Rodius*, Niek de Klein, Céline Jeanty, Héctor Sánchez-Iranzo, Isaac Crespo, Mark Ibberson, Ioannis Xenarios, Gunnar Dittmar, Nadia Mercader, Simone P. Niclou, Francisco Azuaje

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Myocardial infarction (MI) is a leading cause of death worldwide. Reperfusion is considered as an optimal therapy following cardiac ischemia. However, the promotion of a rapid elevation of O2 levels in ischemic cells produces high amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to myocardial tissue injury. This phenomenon is called ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI). We aimed at identifying new and effective compounds to treat MI and minimize IRI. We previously studied heart regeneration following myocardial injury in zebrafish and described each step of the regeneration process, from the day of injury until complete recovery, in terms of transcriptional responses. Here, we mined the data and performed a deep in silico analysis to identify drugs highly likely to induce cardiac regeneration. Fisetin was identified as the top candidate. We validated its effects in an in vitro model of MI/IRI in mammalian cardiac cells. Fisetin enhances viability of rat cardiomyocytes following hypoxia/starvation – reoxygenation. It inhibits apoptosis, decreases ROS generation and caspase activation and protects from DNA damage. Interestingly, fisetin also activates genes involved in cell proliferation. Fisetin is thus a highly promising candidate drug with clinical potential to protect from ischemic damage following MI and to overcome IRI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2896
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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