Canadian journal of veterinary research = Revue canadienne de recherche veterinaire

Immuno-modulation and anti-inflammatory benefits of antibiotics: the example of tilmicosin.

PMID 20357951


Exaggerated immune responses, such as those implicated in severe inflammatory reactions, are costly to the metabolism. Inflammation and pro-inflammatory mediators negatively affect production in the food animal industry by reducing growth, feed intake, reproduction, milk production, and metabolic health. An ever-increasing number of findings have established that antibiotics, macrolides in particular, may generate anti-inflammatory effects, including the modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the alteration of neutrophil function. The effects are time- and dose-dependent, and the mechanisms responsible for these phenomena remain incompletely understood. Recent studies, mostly using the veterinary macrolide tilmicosin, may have shed new light on the mode of action of some macrolides and their anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed, research findings demonstrate that this compound, amongst others, induces neutrophil apoptosis, which in turn provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies using tilmicosin model systems in vitro and in vivo demonstrate that this antibiotic has potent immunomodulatory effects that may explain why at least parts of its clinical benefits are independent of anti-microbial effects. More research is needed, using this antibiotic and others that may have similar properties, to clarify the biological mechanisms responsible for antibiotic-induced neutrophil apoptosis, and how this, in turn, may provide enhanced clinical benefits. Such studies may help establish a rational basis for the development of novel, efficacious, anti-microbial compounds that generate anti-inflammatory properties in addition to their antibacterial effects.

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Tilmicosin, VETRANAL, analytical standard, mix of isomers