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J Lab Clin Med. 2004 Jul;144(1):18-26.

Azithromycin inhibits interleukin-6 but not fibrinogen production in hepatocytes infected with cytomegalovirus and chlamydia pneumoniae.

Author information

1
Laboratory and Department of Medical Microbiology, Diakonessen Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands. jbouwman@diakhuis.nl

Abstract

Chlamydia pneumoniae and cytomegalovirus (CMV) have been associated with the development of atherosclerosis. Inflammatory stimuli initiate the biosynthesis of fibrinogen, interleukin (IL)-6 and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 in the liver. Chronic infection may perpetuate the inflammatory status. We hypothesized that infection of human hepatocytes with the intracellular pathogens C pneumoniae and CMV accelerates biosynthesis of fibrinogen, IL-6, and PAI-1 but that this biosynthesis can be reduced with the use of azithromycin. HepG2 human hepatocytes were infected with C pneumoniae and CMV in vitro in the presence of 0, 0.016, 0.125, or 1 microg/mL azithromycin. We measured IL-6, PAI-1, and fibrinogen after 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours. C pneumoniae-infected hepatocytes produce IL-6 (2667 +/- 309 pg/mL vs 137 +/- 120 pg/mL in uninfected cells after 96 hours. Incubation with 0.016 microg/mL azithromycin decreased IL-6 levels to a mean of 1516 +/- 402 pg/mL, and incubation with 0.125 and 1 microg/mL azithromycin decreased IL-6 to 871 +/- 364 and 752 +/- 403 pg/mL, respectively. C pneumoniae-induced IL-6 production was time- and dose-dependent. The interaction of C pneumoniae with azithromycin treatment was significant, indicating an inhibitory effect of azithromycin on C pneumoniae-induced IL-6 production. CMV infection did not lead to IL-6 production by hepatocytes. C pneumoniae and CMV infection did not induce any changes in PAI-1 production. Fibrinogen production was increased by CMV infection after 72 hours (838 +/- 88 ng/mL; P <.01) and after 96 hours by infection with both C pneumoniae and CMV (765 +/- 100 and 846 +/- 123 ng/mL, respectively; P <.05). Azithromycin did not suppress CMV- or C pneumoniae-induced fibrinogen production. Moreover, we could not confirm an antiinflammatory effect of azithromycin in experiments with cross-titrations of azithromycin against either IL-1 or IL-6 (P >.05). Azithromycin reduces C pneumoniae-induced IL-6 production, but not fibrinogen production, by human hepatocytes. This is a result of the antimicrobial properties of azithromycin and not a direct antiinflammatory effect.

PMID:
15252403
DOI:
10.1016/j.lab.2004.03.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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