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Mediators Inflamm. 2016;2016:4173962. doi: 10.1155/2016/4173962. Epub 2016 Apr 3.

Effects of Low-Dose and Long-Term Treatment with Erythromycin on Interleukin-17 and Interleukin-23 in Peripheral Blood and Induced Sputum in Patients with Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, China.



To study the effects of low-dose and long-term treatment with erythromycin on IL-17 and IL-23, in peripheral blood and induced sputum, in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Patients were randomly divided into placebo-treated group, group A (12 months of additive treatment with erythromycin, N = 18), and group B (6 months of additive treatment with erythromycin followed by 6 months of follow-up, N = 18). Inflammatory cells in induced sputum, pulmonary function, and the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) were analyzed. Concentrations of IL-17 and IL-23 in peripheral blood and sputum were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.


After treatment, sputum and peripheral blood concentrations of IL-17 and IL-23 significantly decreased in groups A and B compared with placebo-treated group. There were no significant differences after erythromycin withdrawal at months 9 and 12 in group B compared with placebo-treated group. An increase in 6MWD was observed after treatment.


Erythromycin was beneficial and reduced airway inflammation in COPD patients. Underlying mechanisms may involve inhibition of IL-17 and IL-23 mediated airway inflammation. COPD patients treated with erythromycin for 6 months experienced improved exercise capacity. Finally, treatment for 12 months may be more effective than treatment for 6 months.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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