Anthracyclines are widely-used drugs for the treatment of cancer. Although these drugs are effective in reducing or containing tumor progress, their long-term use is limited by toxicity effects. A special area of concern is related to the toxic effects that these drugs have on the myocardial tissue, including interstitial edema, fibrosis, degeneration of myocardial cells, and cardiac dilatation, among others. The end result is an overall impairment in cardiac function that limits the use of these agents [1,2]. This damage in heart function can be life-threatening, and it causes special concern in patients with prior cardiac dysfunction, as well as in children [2]. As a result of these disadvantages, there is a trend in current research to develop anthracycline derivatives or modified formulations with reduced cardiotoxic effects, as well as to learn more of the mechanisms that mediate this cardiac toxicity. Our long-term goal is to measure changes in capillary endothelium permeability in the heart after administration of anthracyclines which may contribute to the overall deterioration in function observed after chronic treatment with this medication. The goal of this project was to develop a sensitive, non-radioactive technique to measure capillary permeability in experimental animal models. This technique could then be applied in future studies of anthracycline cardiotoxicity.

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