Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Current Issues in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Formerly Annales UMCS Sectio DDD Pharmacia

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.19

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.132
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.119

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of macrolides

Magdalena Bulska
  • Corresponding author
  • Chair and Department of Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical Univeristy of Lodz, Muszynskiego 1, 90-151 Lodz, Poland
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Daria Orszulak-Michalak
  • Chair and Department of Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical Univeristy of Lodz, Muszynskiego 1, 90-151 Lodz, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-05-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/cipms-2014-0015


Macrolides are a group of antibiotics whose activity is ascribable to the presence of the macrolide ring, to which one or more deoxy sugars may be attached. Two properties are inherent in this group of antibiotics, the immunomodulatory and the anti-inflammatory actions, ensuring great efficacy in a wide spectrum of infections. Macrolides demonstrate several immunomodulatory activities both in vitro and in vivo. They can down-regulate prolonged inflammation, increase mucus clearance, prevent the formation of bacterial biofilm and either enhance or reduce activation of the immune system. According to given properties and exceptional effects on bacterial phatogens, the macrolide antimicrobial agents have been found to serve a unique role in the management of chronic airway disorders, including diffuse panbronchiolitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Use of macrolides can result in clinical improvement in patients with severe, chronic inflammatory airway diseases, improving their spirometry indicators, gas exchange and overall quality of life.

Keywords: antibiotics; immunomodulation; inflammation; macrolides


  • 1. Altenburg J. et al.: Immunomodulatory effects of macrolide antibiotic- part 1: biological mechanisms. Respiration, 81, 67, 2011.Google Scholar

  • 2. Cazalias J., Tanabe S., Gagnon G.: Tetracyclines and chemically modified tetracycline-3 (CMT-3) modulate cytokine secretion by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated whole blood. Inflammation, 32, 130, 2009.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • 3. Culic O., Erakovic V., Parnham M.J.: Anti-inflammatory effects of macrolide antibiotics. Eur. J. Pharmacol., 429, 209, 2001.Google Scholar

  • 4. Friedlander A.L., Albert R.K.: Chronic macrolide therapy in inflammatory airway diseases. Chest, 138, 1202, 2010.Google Scholar

  • 5. Hodge S., Hodge G., Jersmann H.: Azithromycin improves macrophage phagocytic function and expression of mannose receptor in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., 178, 139, 2008.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • 6. Itkin I.H., Menzel M.L.: The use of macrolide antibiotic substances in the treatment of astma. J. Allergy, 45, 146, 1970.Google Scholar

  • 7. Kudoh S., Azuma A., Yamamoto M.: Improvement of survival in patients with diffuse panbrochiolitis treated with low-dose erythromycin.Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., 157, 1829, 1998.Google Scholar

  • 8. Martinez F., Curtis J., Albert R.: Role of macrolide therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Interantional Journal of COPD, 3, 331, 2008.Google Scholar

  • 9. Rubin B.K., Henke M.O.: Immunomodulatory activity and effectiveness of macrolides in chronic airway disease. Chest, 125, 70, 2004.Google Scholar

  • 10. Targowski T., Jahnz-Różyk K.: Immunomodulatory properties of macrolides. Pol. Merk. Lek., 149, 408, 2008.Google Scholar

  • 11. Ungureanu V.: Macrolides, lincosamides, streptogramines (MLS): mechanisms of action and resistance. Bacteriol Virusol Parazitol Epidemiol., 55, 131, 2010.Google Scholar

  • 12. Zarogoulidis P. et al.: Macrolides: from in vitro anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties to clinical practise in respiratory diseases. Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol., 68, 479, 2012.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2014-02-03

Accepted: 2014-03-25

Published Online: 2014-05-30

Published in Print: 2014-06-01

Citation Information: Current Issues in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 61–64, ISSN (Online) 2300-6676, ISSN (Print) 2084-980X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/cipms-2014-0015.

Export Citation

© 2014. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in