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  • Azithromycin selectively reduces tumor necrosis factor alpha levels in cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells.

Azithromycin selectively reduces tumor necrosis factor alpha levels in cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells.

Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy (2007-01-11)
Cristina Cigana, Baroukh Maurice Assael, Paola Melotti

Azithromycin (AZM) ameliorates lung function in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This macrolide has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as other effects potentially relevant for therapy of CF. In this study, we utilized three CF (IB3-1, 16HBE14o- AS3, and 2CFSMEo-) and two isogenic non-CF (C38 and 16HBE14o- S1) airway epithelial cell lines to investigate whether AZM could reduce tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) mRNA and protein levels by real-time quantitative PCR analysis and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. We studied the effects on the DNA binding of NF-kappaB and specificity protein 1 (Sp1) by an ELISA. Non-CF cells express significantly lower TNF-alpha mRNA and protein levels than an isogenic CF cell line. In CF cells, AZM treatment causes a 30% reduction of TNF-alpha mRNA levels (P < 0.05) and a 45% decrease in TNF-alpha secretion (P < 0.05), reaching approximately the levels of the untreated isogenic non-CF cells. In CF cells, NF-kappaB and Sp1 DNA binding activities were also significantly decreased (about 45 and 60%, respectively; P < 0.05) after AZM treatment. Josamycin, a macrolide lacking clinically described anti-inflammatory effects, was ineffective. Finally, AZM did not alter the mRNA expression levels of interleukin-6, a proinflammatory molecule not differentially expressed in CF and isogenic non-CF cells. The results of our study support the anti-inflammatory activities of this macrolide, since we show that AZM reduced the levels of TNF-alpha and propose inhibitions of NF-kappaB and Sp1 DNA binding as possible mechanisms of this effect.

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Josamycin, ≥90% (HPLC)

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