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A ketolide antibiotic, telithromycin, inhibits vascular adrenergic neurotransmission in the rat mesenteric vascular bed.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A ketolide antibiotic, telithromycin, has side effects including temporary loss of consciousness in clinical use, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This study investigated the effects of telithromycin on perivascular nerve function in rat mesenteric arteries, in comparison with those of macrolide (erythromycin and clarithromycin) and new quinolone antibiotics (levofloxacin and gatifloxacin).

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: In vitro, vascular responses and release of noradrenaline induced by periarterial nerve stimulation (PNS) of rat perfused mesenteric vascular beds were measured in the presence of each antibiotic. In vivo blood pressure measurement was performed in Wistar rats.

KEY RESULTS: In mesenteric preparations with resting tone, telithromycin (10 nM-10 microM) markedly inhibited PNS (4-12 Hz)-induced adrenergic nerve- and exogenous noradrenaline-mediated vasoconstriction, whereas the other antibiotics slightly inhibited PNS-induced responses without affecting noradrenaline-induced responses. Telithromycin significantly reduced PNS (12 Hz)-evoked noradrenaline release in the perfusate. In pre-constricted preparations with or without endothelium, telithromycin (0.1 nM-10 microM) caused a concentration-dependent vasodilation. Telithromycin (10 nM) inhibited calcium-induced vasoconstriction in high KCl and calcium-free medium. None of the antibiotics used affected PNS (0.5-2 Hz)-induced calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) nerve- and exogenous CGRP-mediated vasodilation. Intravenous injection of telithromycin significantly lowered blood pressure in anaesthetized rats.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: These results suggest that telithromycin causes not only strong inhibition of perivascular adrenergic neurotransmission but also a vasodilator action in mesenteric vascular beds and hypotension. It is thus possible that telithromycin increases visceral blood flow, consequently reducing cerebral blood flow and resulting in a temporary loss of consciousness.

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