J774 Macrophages Secrete Antibiotics via Organic Anion Transporters

J Infect Dis. 1992 Feb;165(2):322-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/165.2.322.


Mouse macrophages and J774 macrophage-like cells express probenecid-inhibitable organic anion transporters that remove anionic dyes from the cells' cytoplasmic matrix and secrete these dyes into the extracellular medium. The present studies show that these transporters also secrete antibiotics from J774 macrophages. Penicillin G permeates J774 cells poorly, but after it was introduced into the cell cytoplasm, it was secreted in a probenecid-inhibitable fashion. The quinolone norfloxacin enters macrophages readily. Probenecid retarded the secretion of intracellular norfloxacin by J774 cells and enhanced norfloxacin accumulation three- to fourfold. Thus the intracellular accumulation of norfloxacin is regulated in part by organic anion transporters that secrete norfloxacin (and penicillin G) from J774 cells. This transport process may have clinical significance, as fluoroquinolones inhibit growth of intracellular pathogens such as mycobacteria and Brucella organisms in vitro but fail to arrest infections with these organisms in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Isoquinolines / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Norfloxacin / metabolism
  • Penicillin G / metabolism
  • Probenecid / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Isoquinolines
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • lucifer yellow
  • Norfloxacin
  • Probenecid
  • Penicillin G