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Exp Parasitol. 2000 Aug;95(4):265-70.

Tetracycline inhibits development of the infective-stage larvae of filarial nematodes in vitro.

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Department of Pathology, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, Connecticut, 06030-3105, USA.


In recent years, studies have linked tetracycline treatment of filaria-infected animals with reduced adult worm burdens and decreased levels of microfilaremia. These observations are believed to be attributable to clearance of Wolbachia, intracellular rickettsial-like organisms found within filarial tissues. Although maximal worm reductions were observed when treatment was initiated early in infection, it is not known whether tetracycline inhibits development of infective-stage larvae. To address this issue, we studied the effect of tetracycline on three different species of filarial nematodes, Brugia malayi, Brugia pahangi, and Dirofilaria immitis, in a serumfree in vitro system supporting molting to the fourth larval stage. Tetracycline was capable of inhibiting L3 to L4 molting within a dosage range similar to that reported for susceptible rickettsial organisms. However, Wolbachia DNA could still be detected in nematodes from tetracycline-treated cultures. In addition, three other antibiotics with anti-rickettsial and anti-chlamydial activity (chloramphenicol, erythromycin, and ciprofloxacin) failed to inhibit L3 to L4 molting. Although tetracycline is capable of completely blocking molting of infective-stage larvae, it remains possible that this effect is due to pharmacological activities unrelated to its anti-rickettsial functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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