Azithromycin reduces the viability of human bronchial smooth muscle cells

Rodopi Stamatiou, Konstantinos Boukas, Efrosyni Paraskeva, Paschalis Adam Molyvdas, Apostolia Hatziefthimiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The macrolide antibiotic azithromycin has an antiproliferative and autophagic effect on rabbit tracheal smooth muscle cells (SMCs). The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of azithromycin on human bronchial SMCs. Human bronchial SMCs were treated with azithromycin (10 5 M) in the presence or absence of 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Cell number was estimated using the Cell Titer 96 AQ ueous One Solution Assay. Induction of autophagy was studied by observation of cell morphology in cells treated or not with the autophagy inhibitor, 3-methyladenine (3-MA), as well as by Lysotracker Red staining of lysosomes. Activation of apoptosis was assessed with flow cytometry after annexin staining. Incubation with azithromycin for 24, 48 or 72 h reduced viability in FBS-deprived cells, as well as cells cultured in FBS-containing medium. Azithromycin treatment resulted in the formation of cytoplasmic vacuoles that could not be prevented by 3-MA. Furthermore, 3-MA did not reverse the effect of azithromycin on the viability of SMCs. There was an increase in the number of lysosomes in cells treated with azithromycin. Finally, azithromycin increased the percentage of early apoptotic cells. In conclusion, azithromycin reduces the viability of human bronchial SMCs possibly by leading to apoptotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Antibiotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Azithromycin
  • Human bronchial SMCs
  • Viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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