Effect of Macrolide Antibiotics on Ciliary Motility in Rabbit Airway Epithelium In-Vitro

J Pharm Pharmacol. 1993 Aug;45(8):756-8. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1993.tb07104.x.


We have studied ciliary beat frequency (CBF) of rabbit cultured tracheal epithelium by a photoelectric method in-vitro. Addition of erythromycin and roxithromycin increased CBF in a dose-dependent fashion, whereas clarithromycin was without effect. The rank order potency of macrolide was roxithromycin > erythromycin >> clarithromycin. The roxithromycin-induced increase in CBF was not altered by propranolol, AA-861, or verapamil, but partially attenuated by indomethacin. Roxithromycin increased intracellular cAMP concentrations. These results suggest that certain macrolides can stimulate airway ciliary motility probably via prostaglandin- and cAMP-dependent regulatory pathways, which may affect mucociliary transport function in the respiratory tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cilia / drug effects
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Rabbits
  • Roxithromycin / pharmacology*
  • Trachea / drug effects*
  • Trachea / metabolism
  • Trachea / ultrastructure*


  • Roxithromycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Cyclic AMP