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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1998 Mar;41 Suppl B:37-46.

Anti-inflammatory activity of macrolides: a new therapeutic potential?

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Inserm U479, Service d'Hématologie et d'Immunologie Biologiques, CHU Xavier Bichat, Paris, France.


The important role played by macrolides in the chemotherapy of infectious diseases is well established, but there is still much speculation about their anti-inflammatory potential. A review of in-vitro and ex-vivo studies reported in the literature shows that macrolides have potentially relevant immunomodulatory effects. In-vitro data suggest that erythromycin A derivatives have a direct effect on neutrophil function and the production of cytokines involved in the inflammation cascade. The ex-vivo results indicate that short-term administration of macrolides may enhance the immune response while long-term administration results in immunosuppression. Further research is required to improve our understanding of the therapeutic activity of macrolides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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