Erythromycin has therapeutic efficacy on muscle fatigue acting specifically on orosomucoid to increase muscle bioenergetics and physiological parameters of endurance

Pharmacol Res. 2020 Nov;161:105118. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.105118. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


At present, there are still no official or semi-official recommendations for the treatment of muscle fatigue. We previously reported that acute phase protein orosomucoid (ORM) can enhance muscle endurance and exert anti-fatigue effect. In attempting to seek anti-fatigue drugs that target ORM, we found macrolide antibiotics, particularly erythromycin, were effective. Erythromycin can significantly prolong the time of mice forced-swimming and treadmill running, increase muscle fatigue index, alleviate fatigue-induced tissue damage, and elevate glycogen content, mitochondria function and ATP level in the muscle. Also, erythromycin increases ORM protein expression in a dose- and time- dependent manner both in vitro and in vivo. Further studies found that erythromycin could increase the activity of ORM promoter and the stability of ORM mRNA, which might both be responsible for the ORM up-regulation. ORM knockdown or knockout could abolish the promoting effect of erythromycin in mice forced-swimming time, muscle fatigue index and glycogen level. Furthermore, those effects were also abolished in mice with C-C motif chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) antagonist administration or AMPKα2 deficiency. Therefore, erythromycin could enhance muscle glycogen and endurance via up-regulating the level of ORM and activating CCR5-AMPK pathway, indicating it might act as a potential drug to treat muscle fatigue.

Keywords: AMPK; C-C motif chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5); erythromycin; glycogen; muscle endurance; orosomucoid (ORM).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / drug effects
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Orosomucoid / genetics
  • Orosomucoid / metabolism*
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Receptors, CCR5 / metabolism
  • Running
  • Signal Transduction
  • Swimming
  • Time Factors


  • CCR5 protein, mouse
  • Orosomucoid
  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Erythromycin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glycogen
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases