Biochemical background of toxic interaction between tiamulin and monensin

Gyula Szucs, Viola Tamási, Péter Laczay, Katalin Monostory

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Tiamulin, a diterpene antibiotic, is used for treatment of pulmonary and gastrointestinal infections in swine and poultry. Combined administration of tiamulin and ionophores (e.g. monensin) to farm animals may lead to intoxication manifested in severe clinical symptoms. Tiamulin metabolite complex with cytochrome P450 has been suggested to be the basis of drug-interactions. However, the formation of metabolic intermediate complex is questionable. The effect of tiamulin-treatment on cytochrome P450 activities was investigated in rats. Ethylmorphine and aminopyrine N-demethylation activities as well as monensin metabolism (O-demethylation) increased in liver microsomes of tiamulin-treated (200mg/kg) animals. CYP3A1 induction caused by tiamulin was confirmed by the results of Western blot analysis. To test metabolic intermediate complex formation as a result of tiamulin treatment, cytochrome P450 activities were also determined in the presence of potassium ferricyanide. The findings together with those of in vitro complex formation suggested that formation of metabolic intermediate complexes of tiamulin with cytochrome P450 could be excluded. On the other hand, the results of inhibition studies showed significant decrease of ethylmorphine or aminopyrine as well as monensin demethylation in the presence of tiamulin. Our results proved that tiamulin has dual effect on cytochromes P450. It is able to induce and directly inhibit CYP3A enzymes, which are predominantly responsible for monensin O-demethylation. The direct effect of tiamulin as an inhibitor might play a more important role in toxicity than its putative effect as a chemical inducer of CYP3A enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2004


  • Metabolic interaction
  • Monensin
  • Tiamulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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