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Pharmacol Res. 2011 Apr;63(4):308-19. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2010.12.011. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

The intestinal anti-inflammatory effect of minocycline in experimental colitis involves both its immunomodulatory and antimicrobial properties.

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Centro de Investigaciones Biomédicas en Red - Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBER-EHD), Department of Pharmacology, Center for Biomedical Research, University of Granada, Avenida del Conocimiento s/n, 18100 Armilla, Granada, Spain.


Some antibiotics, including minocycline, have recently been reported to display immunomodulatory properties in addition to their antimicrobial activity. The use of a compound with both immunomodulatory and antibacterial properties could be very interesting in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), so the aim of our study was to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effect of minocycline in several experimental models of IBD. Firstly, the immunomodulatory activity of the antibiotic was tested in vitro using Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells and RAW 264.7 macrophages; minocycline was able to inhibit IL-8 and nitrite production, respectively. In vivo studies were performed in trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced rat colitis and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced mouse colitis. The results revealed that minocycline exerted an intestinal anti-inflammatory effect when administered as a curative treatment in the TNBS model, modulating both immune and microbiological parameters, being confirmed in the DSS model; whereas none of the other antibiotics tested (tetracycline and metronidazole) showed anti-inflammatory effect. However, minocycline administration before the colitis induction was not able to prevent the development of the intestinal inflammation, thus showing that only its antimicrobial activity is not enough for the anti-inflammatory effect. In conclusion, minocycline displays an anti-inflammatory effect on different models of rodent colitis which could be attributed to the association of its antibacterial and immunomodulatory properties.

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