Interaction of the macrolide azithromycin with phospholipids. II. Biophysical and computer-aided conformational studies.


In a comparison paper, we show the azithromycin causes a lysosomal phospholipidosis in cultured cells, binds in vitro to negatively charged bilayers without causing aggregation or fusion, and inhibits lysosomal phospholipase A1. In this paper, we show that azithromycin decreases the mobility of the phospholipids in negatively charged liposomes (using 31P nuclear magnetic resonance) and that it increases the fluidity of the acyl chains close to the hydrophilic/hydrophobic interface, but not deeper into the hydrophobic domain (assessed by measuring the fluorescence polarization of trimethylammonium-diphenylhexatriene and diphenyhexatriene, respectively). Computer-aided conformational analysis of mixed monolayers of azithromycin and phosphatidylinositol shows that the drug can be positioned largely in the hydrophobic domain, but close to the interface, with the macrocycle facing the C1 of the fatty acids (allowing the N9a endocyclic tertiary amine to interact with the phospho-groups), the cladinose located on the hydrophobic side of the lipid/water interface and the desosamine projected into the hydrophobic domain. This position is consistent with the experimental data. Analysis of virtual molecules shows that this unanticipated behavior to the shielding of the ionizable N3' amino-group in the desosamine by methyl-groups, and to the wide dispersion of hydrophobic domains all over the molecule. The interaction of azithromycin with phospholipids may account for some of its unusual pharmacokinetic properties and for its potential to cause lysosomal phospholipidosis.

Cite this paper

@article{Montenez1996InteractionOT, title={Interaction of the macrolide azithromycin with phospholipids. II. Biophysical and computer-aided conformational studies.}, author={J P Montenez and Françoise Van Bambeke and J P Piret and Andr{\'e} N. Schanck and Robert Brasseur and Paul M Tulkens and Marie-Paule Mingeot-Leclercq}, journal={European journal of pharmacology}, year={1996}, volume={314 1-2}, pages={215-27} }