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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2004 Sep;48(9):3457-61.

Azithromycin inhibits MUC5AC production induced by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa autoinducer N-(3-Oxododecanoyl) homoserine lactone in NCI-H292 Cells.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan.


The features of chronic airway diseases, including chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and diffuse panbronchiolitis, include chronic bacterial infection and airway obstruction by mucus. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the most common pathogens in chronic lung infection, and quorum-sensing systems contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease. The quorum-sensing signal molecule [N-(3-oxododecanoyl) homoserine lactone (3O-C(12)-HSL)] not only regulates bacterial virulence but also is associated with the immune response. In this study, we investigated whether 3O-C(12)-HSL could stimulate the production of a major mucin core protein, MUC5AC. The effect of a macrolide on MUC5AC production was also studied. 3O-C(12)-HSL induced NCI-H292 cells to express MUC5AC at both the mRNA and the protein levels in time- and dose-dependent manners. A 15-membered macrolide, azithromycin, inhibited MUC5AC production that was activated by 3O-C(12)-HSL. 3O-C(12)-HSL induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and I-kappa B phosphorylation in cells, and this induction was suppressed by azithromycin. 3O-C(12)-HSL-induced MUC5AC production was blocked by the ERK pathway inhibitor PD98059. Our findings suggest that the P. aeruginosa autoinducer 3O-C(12)-HSL contributes to excessive mucin production in chronic bacterial infection. Azithromycin seems to reduce this mucin production by interfering with intracellular signal transduction.

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