Azithromycin has a direct relaxant effect on precontracted airway smooth muscle
Macrolides have been proven to have beneficial bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory properties, but very little is known about the potential value of their bronchodilatory effect. Therefore, in the present study we investigated the effect of azithromycin on contractile responses of isolated rabbit tracheal strips to carbachol or KCl. Azitbromycin has a relaxant, concentration-dependent effect on tracheal strips precontracted with carbachol (300 nM), significant from the concentration of 1 mu M. The mechanical removal of epithelium did not alter the effect of azithromycin. Azithromycin (100 mu M) also relaxed tracheal strips precontracted with KCl (80 mM) even in the presence of atropine (100 mu M). Moreover, azithromycin (100 mu M) decreased contractions induced by 300 nM and 10 mu M carbachol to 55.4% and 80.5% of initial contraction, respectively. The relaxant effect of azithromycin persisted in both calcium free solution and in the presence of the calcium channel antagonist, verapamil. The relaxant effect of azithromycin was not altered by the pre-treatment of preparations with the inhibitors of Ca2+-ATPase (cyclopiazonic acid), Na+-K+ ATPase (ouabain), Rho-associated kinase [(R)-(+)-17-ans-4-(1-aminoethyl)-N-(4-pyridyl)cyclohexanecarboxamide dihydrochloride] (Y-27632) or the non-specific cAMP and cGMP phosphodiesterases inhibitor 3-isobutyl-l-methyl-2,6(1H,3H)-purinedione (IBMX). These results suggest that azithromycin has a concentration-dependent, epithelium-independent, direct relaxant effect on precontracted tracheal strips that is not mediated via inhibition of Ca2+ influx or Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. Also, it is not due to alteration of the function of Na+-K+ ATPase and does not depend on the formation of cAMP/cGMP or the Rho/Rho-activated kinase pathway. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.