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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Nov 27;205(1):1-7.

Macrolide antibiotics and pulmonary inflammation.

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Research Service, Building 52 (0-151), Southern Arizona VA Health Care System and Respiratory Sciences, University of Arizona, 3601 South 6th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85723, USA.


Many clinically effective therapeutic agents can exhibit localized and systemic effects that are manifestly different from their intended primary pharmacological mode of action. Macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin and its derivatives are no exception. In addition to their antibacterial action, this class of antibiotics exhibits anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of airway diseases such as asthma and diffuse panbronchiolitis that is separate and distinct from a direct antibacterial action. A variety of erythromycin derivatives have been shown to be clinically beneficial in these airway diseases. The anti-inflammatory activities of these macrolide antibiotics are becoming a research topic of intense interest. Recent work in this field has led to the understanding of the various physiological, cellular and molecular processes of the inflammatory response that are inhibited or suppressed by these compounds. This review presents a brief summary of the fascinating recent work in this active research area.

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