Pulmonary pharmacology & therapeutics

Azithromycin inhibits MUC5AC induction via multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in human airway epithelial cells.

PMID 24910464


Acinetobacter baumannii is one of the main pathogens that cause ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Hypersecretion of mucin in the airway is associated with the onset of VAP. Furthermore, macrolides are known to accelerate the resolution of VAP. However, this mechanism has not been elucidated. We examined whether macrolides inhibit MUC5AC production that is induced by multidrug-resistant A. baumannii (MDRAB). MUC5AC production in bronchial cells after MDRAB stimulation was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. For the inhibition study, cells were treated with azithromycin (AZM) or clarithromycin (CAM) simultaneously along with MDRAB stimulation. Western blotting was performed was performed to determine potential rules for signal modules. MDRAB induced MUC5AC production and gene expression. The EGFR-ERK/JNK-NF-κB pathway was involved in MDRAB-induced MUC5AC production. AZM but not CAM inhibited MUC5AC production. AZM suppressed the phosphorylation of ERK/JNK and the nuclear translocation of NF-κB. Our results suggest that the efficacy of macrolides against VAP may be due to the inhibition of mucin production.