Toxicology, vol.489, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
Ripretinib is a multikinase inhibitor drug approved in 2020 by the FDA and in 2021 by EMA for use in the treatment of advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) which have not adequately responded to previous treatments with kinase inhibitors. The most common side effects of the drug are myalgia and fatigue, which likely causes interruption of the treatment or reduction of the dose. Skeletal muscle cells highly depend on ATP to perform their functions and mitochondrial damage may play a role in skeletal muscle toxicity induced by kinase inhibitors. However, the molecular mechanism has not been clearly identified in the literature yet. In this study, it has been aimed to elucidate the role of mitochondria in the toxic effect of ripretinib on skeletal muscle using the mouse C2C12 myoblast-derived myotubes. The myotubes were exposed to ripretinib at the range of 1–20 μM concentrations for 24 h. To determine the potential role of mitochondrial impairment in ripretinib-induced skeletal muscle toxicity, intracellular ATP level, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), mitochondrial ROS production (mtROS), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, and mitochondrial mass were examined after ripretinib treatment. Furthermore, changes in PGC 1α/NRF 1/NRF 2 expression levels that play a role in mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy were investigated. Additionally, the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) enzyme activities were evaluated. Lastly, a molecular docking study was done to see ripretinib's possible interaction with DNA polymerase gamma (POLG) which is important for DNA replication in the mitochondria. According to the findings, ripretinib decreases the ATP level and mtDNA copy number, induces loss of MMP, and reduces mitochondrial mass. The activities of the ETC complexes were inhibited with ripretinib exposure which is in line with the observed ATP depletion and MMP loss. The molecular docking study revealed that ripretinib has inhibitory potential against POLG which supports the observed inhibition of mtDNA. The expression of PGC 1α was reduced in the nuclear fraction indicating that PGC-1α was not activated since the NRF 1 expression was reduced and NRF 2 level did not show significant change. Consequently, mtROS production increased in all treatment groups and mitophagy-related gene expressions and Parkin protein expression level were up-regulated at high doses. In conclusion, mitochondrial damage/loss can be one of the underlying causes of ripretinib-induced skeletal muscle toxicity. However, further studies are needed to confirm the results in vivo.