Azithromycin polarizes macrophages to an M2 phenotype via inhibition of the STAT1 and NF-kB signaling pathways

Dalia Haydar, Theodore Cory, Susan E. Birket, Brian S. Murphy, Keith R. Pennypacker, Anthony P. Sinai, David J. Feola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Azithromycin is effective at controlling exaggerated inflammation and slowing the long-term decline of lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis. We previously demonstrated that the drug shifts macrophage polarization toward an alternative, antiinflammatory phenotype. In this study we investigated the immunomodulatory mechanism of azithromycin through its alteration of signaling via the NF-kB and STAT1 pathways. J774 murine macrophages were plated, polarized (with IFN-g, IL-4/-13, or with azithromycin plus IFN-g) and stimulated with LPS. The effect of azithromycin on NF-kB and STAT1 signaling mediators was assessed by Western blot, homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence assay, nuclear translocation assay, and immunofluorescence. The drug’s effect on gene and protein expression of arginase was evaluated as a marker of alternative macrophage activation. Azithromycin blocked NF-kB activation by decreasing p65 nuclear translocation, although blunting the degradation of IkBa was due, at least in part, to a decrease in IKKb kinase activity. A direct correlation was observed between increasing azithromycin concentrations and increased IKKb protein expression. Moreover, incubation with the IKKb inhibitor IKK16 decreased arginase expression and activity in azithromycin-treated cells but not in cells treated with IL-4 and IL-13. Importantly, azithromycin treatment also decreased STAT1 phosphorylation in a concentration-dependent manner, an effect that was reversed with IKK16 treatment. We conclude that azithromycin anti-inflammatory mechanisms involve inhibition of the STAT1 and NF-kB signaling pathways through the drug’s effect on p65 nuclear translocation and IKKb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1030
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume203
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019

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Azithromycin
NF-kappa B
Macrophages
Phenotype
Arginase
Interleukin-13
Interleukin-4
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Macrophage Activation
Cystic Fibrosis
Fluorescent Antibody Technique
Proteins
Phosphotransferases
Fluorescence
Western Blotting
Phosphorylation
Inflammation
Gene Expression
Lung

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this

Haydar, D., Cory, T., Birket, S. E., Murphy, B. S., Pennypacker, K. R., Sinai, A. P., & Feola, D. J. (2019). Azithromycin polarizes macrophages to an M2 phenotype via inhibition of the STAT1 and NF-kB signaling pathways. Journal of Immunology, 203(4), 1021-1030. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1801228

Azithromycin polarizes macrophages to an M2 phenotype via inhibition of the STAT1 and NF-kB signaling pathways. / Haydar, Dalia; Cory, Theodore; Birket, Susan E.; Murphy, Brian S.; Pennypacker, Keith R.; Sinai, Anthony P.; Feola, David J.

In: Journal of Immunology, Vol. 203, No. 4, 15.08.2019, p. 1021-1030.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Haydar, Dalia ; Cory, Theodore ; Birket, Susan E. ; Murphy, Brian S. ; Pennypacker, Keith R. ; Sinai, Anthony P. ; Feola, David J. / Azithromycin polarizes macrophages to an M2 phenotype via inhibition of the STAT1 and NF-kB signaling pathways. In: Journal of Immunology. 2019 ; Vol. 203, No. 4. pp. 1021-1030.
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