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Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2017 Mar 1;31(2):71-77. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2017.31.4410.

Effect of doxycycline on epithelial-mesenchymal transition via the p38/Smad pathway in respiratory epithelial cells.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul, South Korea.



Doxycycline has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, and it also suppresses collagen biosynthesis. This study aimed to confirm the effects and mechanism of doxycycline on transforming growth factor (TGF) beta 1 induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cell migration in A549 and primary nasal epithelial cells.


A 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay and phalloidin-fluorescein isothiocyanate staining were used to evaluate cytotoxicity and cellular morphologic changes. Western blot and immunofluorescence staining were used to determine the expression levels of E-cadherin, vimentin, alpha-smooth muscle actin, fibronectin, phosphorylated Smad2/3, and mitogen-activated protein kinases. Scratch and transwell migration assays were used to assess cellular migration ability.


Doxycycline (0-10 μg/mL) had no significant cytotoxic effects in A549 and primary nasal epithelial cells. Increased expression of mesenchymal markers, including vimentin, alpha-smooth muscle actin, and fibronectin in TGF beta 1 induced A549 cells were downregulated by doxycycline treatment. In contrast, E-cadherin expression was upregulated in TGF beta 1 induced A549 cells. An in vitro cell migration assay showed that doxycycline also inhibited the ability of TGF beta 1 induced migration. Doxycycline treatment suppressed the activation of Smad2/3 and p38, whereas its inhibitory effects were similar to each element-specific inhibitor in A549 and primary nasal epithelial cells.


Doxycycline inhibited TGF beta 1 induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and migration by targeting Smad2/3 and p38 signal pathways in respiratory epithelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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