Effect of erythromycin on matrix metalloproteinase-9 and cell migration

J Lab Clin Med. 2001 Mar;137(3):176-83. doi: 10.1067/mlc.2001.112726.


Erythromycin (EM) has an anti-inflammatory effect that may account for its clinical benefit in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as diffuse panbronchiolitis. To investigate the mechanism of this anti-inflammatory effect, we studied the relationship between the concentration of EM and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity, which is important in cell migration. We showed that EM suppressed the gelatinolytic activity of U937 cell-derived MMP-9 by using gelatin zymography, showed that expressions of MMP-9 protein and MMP-9 mRNA were down-regulated by EM in a dose-dependent manner, and showed that U937 migration was also suppressed by EM. We also demonstrated that EM treatment suppressed the gelatinolytic activity of MMP-9 in spleen macrophages. These findings suggest that the suppressive effect of EM on MMP-9 activity is one of the anti-inflammatory mechanisms that inhibit the migration of inflammatory cells into the inflammatory site.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / enzymology
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / enzymology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Spleen / cytology
  • U937 Cells


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Erythromycin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9