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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Jan;155(1):337-42.

Effect of clarithromycin on lymphocytes in chronic respiratory Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Japan.


In a newly established murine model of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa respiratory infection mimicking diffuse panbronchiolitis (DPB), we investigated the effect of oral administration of clarithromycin on lymphocyte accumulation in the lung. Infection was produced by placement of a plastic tube precoated with P. aeruginosa in the bronchus. The number of bacteria on the tube was 6.25 +/- 0.22 log10 colony-forming units (cfu)/ml. Viable bacteria were constantly isolated at 10(5) to 10(6) cfu/specimen from the lungs for more than 1 yr. The histopathologic features resembled those of DPB consisting of massive accumulation of lymphocytes in the lung. The total number of pulmonary lymphocytes started to increase on Day 7, reaching a peak level within 12 d of intratracheal challenge. The number remained steady at that level for up to 120 d. There was also a steady fall in the CD4+/CD8+ ratio in the lungs, commencing on Day 7 and persisting to Day 120. A 10-d course of oral clarithromycin (10 mg/kg/d) from Day 7 resulted in a reduction of lymphocyte numbers to baseline level, although the dose did not influence the number of bacteria in the lungs. Treatment also increased the CD4+/CD8+ ratio to the baseline level from Day 7 to 17. Our results were similar to those detected in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients with DPB and suggest that the therapeutic benefits of clarithromycin are due to its anti-inflammatory properties rather than antimicrobial effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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