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Concept: Macrolide


Rhinovirus infection is a major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations and may contribute to the development into severe stages of COPD. The macrolide antibiotic azithromycin may exert anti-viral actions and has been reported to reduce exacerbations in COPD. However, little is known about its anti-viral actions on bronchial epithelial cells at clinically relevant concentrations. Primary bronchial epithelial cells from COPD donors and healthy individuals were treated continuously with azithromycin starting 24 h before infection with rhinovirus RV16. Expression of interferons, RIG-I like helicases, pro-inflammatory cytokines and viral load were analysed. Azithromycin transiently increased expression of IFNβ and IFNλ1 and RIG-I like helicases in un-infected COPD cells. Further, azithromycin augmented RV16-induced expression of interferons and RIG-I like helicases in COPD cells but not in healthy epithelial cells. Azithromycin also decreased viral load. However, it only modestly altered RV16-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. Adding budesonide did not reduce interferon-inducing effects of azithromycin. Possibly by inducing expression of RIG-I like helicases, azithromycin increased rhinovirus-induced expression of interferons in COPD but not in healthy bronchial epithelium. These effects would reduce bronchial viral load, supporting azithromycin’s emerging role in prevention of exacerbations of COPD.

Concepts: Cytokine, Asthma, Lung, Pneumonia, Epithelium, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Macrolide, Azithromycin


Many respiratory tract infections are treated with macrolide antibiotics. Regulatory agencies warn that these antibiotics increase the risk of ventricular arrhythmia. We examined the 30-day risk of ventricular arrhythmia and all-cause mortality associated with macrolide antibiotics relative to nonmacrolide antibiotics.

Concepts: Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract infection, Erythromycin, Macrolide, Antibiotics, Respiratory tract


Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. We tested the hypothesis that azithromycin would decrease the frequency of exacerbations, increase lung function, and improve health-related quality of life in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.

Concepts: Asthma, Lung, Pneumonia, Cystic fibrosis, Erythromycin, Macrolide, Azithromycin, Antibiotics


Although several macrolide antibiotics are proarrhythmic and associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, azithromycin is thought to have minimal cardiotoxicity. However, published reports of arrhythmias suggest that azithromycin may increase the risk of cardiovascular death.

Concepts: Cardiology, Cardiac arrest, Sudden cardiac death, Erythromycin, Macrolide, Azithromycin, Antibiotics


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a common cause of various respiratory tract infections, including community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) [1].…

Concepts: Bacteria, Pneumonia, Macrolide


The prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis collected during 2004-2011 were determined. A total of 9956 individuals was analyzed. Identification was performed by use of the mycoplasma IST-2 kit. Antimicrobial susceptibility against doxycycline, josamycin, ofloxacin, erythromycin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, and pristinamycin was also tested by use of this commercial kit. Our results show a prevalence of 1856 positive patients for genital mycoplasmas (18.6 %). Among positive cultures, 89 and 1.1 % of isolates were Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis, respectively. For 9.8 % of isolates both urogenital mycoplasmas were grown. Doxycycline was the most active tetracycline for mycoplasma infections, and this is still the drug of first choice. Among macrolides, josamycin and clarithromycin are the most active agents against ureaplasmas; josamycin is also active against mycoplasmas and is an alternative to tetracyclines and erythromycin for mixed infections, especially for pregnant women and neonates. Fluoroquinolones had low efficacy against urogenital mycoplasmas. For Ureaplasma urealyticum, cross-resistance was found between erythromycin and macrolides (except josamycin) (40-80 %) and between erythromycin and ciprofloxacin (79 %). Antibiotic resistance over the test period did not vary significantly. Because of geographical differences among antibiotic resistance, local in-vitro susceptibility testing is recommended to avoid failure of therapy.

Concepts: Bacteria, Mycoplasma, Erythromycin, Quinolone, Mycoplasma hominis, Mollicutes, Macrolide, Mycoplasmataceae


Abstract Context: Lymphocytes predominantly express delayed rectifier K(+)-channels (Kv1.3) in their plasma membranes, and the channels play crucial roles in the lymphocyte activation and proliferation. Since macrolide antibiotics, such as clarithromycin and azithromycin, exert immunomodulatory effects, they would affect the Kv1.3-channel currents in lymphocytes. Objective: This study determined the physiological involvement in the mechanisms of immunomodulation by these antibiotics. Materials and methods: Employing the standard patch-clamp whole-cell recording technique in murine thymocytes, we examined the effects of 30 and 100 µM clarithromycin and azithromycin on the Kv1.3-channel currents and the membrane capacitance. Results: Clarithromycin significantly suppressed the peak currents (30 µM, 178 ± 5.6 to 111 ± 2.0 pA/pF; 100 µM, 277 ± 4.4 to 89.6 ± 10 pA/pF) and the pulse-end currents (30 µM, 47.5 ± 2.2% to 15.5 ± 3.3%; 100 µM, 48.5 ± 1.4% to 15.8 ± 1.0%) of thymocyte Kv1.3-channels without significant effects on the membrane capacitance. In contrast, azithromycin did not affect the channel currents. However, it significantly decreased the membrane capacitance (30 µM, 4.68 ± 0.14 to 3.74 ± 0.13 pF; 100 µM, 4.47 ± 0.06 to 3.37 ± 0.08 pF), indicating its accumulation in the plasma membrane. Discussion and conclusion: This study demonstrated for the first time that clarithromycin exerts inhibitory effects on thymocyte Kv1.3-channel currents, while azithromycin decreases the membrane capacitance without affecting the channel currents. These differences in the effects of the macrolide antibiotics may reflect differences in the mechanisms of immunomodulation by which they control the production of cytokines.

Concepts: Immune system, Lymphocyte, Cell membrane, Affect, Clarithromycin, Thymus, Erythromycin, Macrolide


New assembly line, new compound: SIA7248, a new symmetric macrolide, was isolated from a marine-derived Streptomyces strain. Bioinformatic analyses of the identified biosynthetic gene cluster (sia) for SIA7248 suggested a polyketide biosynthesis utilizing an iteratively trans-acting ketoreductase (KR). We characterized SiaM as a trans-KR to catalyse reductions of various β-ketoacyl-thioesters with D-stereospecificity.

Concepts: Amino acid, Molecular biology, Assembly line, Biosynthesis, Macrolide, Polyketide, Malonyl-CoA


Mycoplasma genitalium is a cause of non-gonoccocal urethritis (NGU) in men and cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease in women. Recent international data also indicated that the first line treatment, 1 gram stat azithromycin therapy, for M. genitalium is becoming less effective, with the corresponding emergence of macrolide resistant strains. Increasing failure rates of azithromycin for M. genitalium has significant implications for the presumptive treatment of NGU and international clinical treatment guidelines. Assays able to predict macrolide resistance along with detection of M. genitalium will be useful to enable appropriate selection of antimicrobials to which the organism is susceptible and facilitate high levels of rapid cure. One such assay recently developed is the MG 23S assay, which employs novel PlexZyme™ and PlexPrime™ technology. It is a multiplex assay for detection of M. genitalium and 5 mutations associated with macrolide resistance. The assay was evaluated in 400 samples from 254 (186 males and 68 females) consecutively infected participants, undergoing tests of cure. Using the MG 23S assay, 83% (331/440) of samples were positive, with 56% of positives carrying a macrolide resistance mutation. Comparison of the MG 23S assay to a reference qPCR method for M. genitalium detection and high resolution melt analysis (HRMA) and sequencing for detection of macrolide resistance mutations, resulted in a sensitivity and specificity for M. genitalium detection and for macrolide resistance of 99.1/98.5% and 97.4/100%, respectively. The MG 23S assay provides a considerable advantage in clinical settings through combined diagnosis and detection of macrolide resistance.

Concepts: Microbiology, Positive predictive value, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Mycoplasma, Pelvic inflammatory disease, Macrolide, Mycoplasma genitalium


There is growing concern worldwide for macrolide resistance in M. genitalium following liberal use of 1 g azithromycin to treat non-gonococcal urethritis and confirmed C. trachomatis infection. Moxifloxacin is the second-line treatment for M. genitalium and still has excellent efficacy against it. However, recent reports indicating that quinolone resistance is more prevalent than previously thought are worrying. Routine testing of symptomatic men and women for M. genitalium is not currently recommended in BASHH guidelines, and attempts to implement such testing have been hampered by a lack of commercially available assays. We present a case of M. genitalium urethritis which failed to respond to four different antibiotic regimens, resulting in multiple visits to the clinic and anxiety for the patient.

Concepts: Mycoplasma, Chlamydia trachomatis, Quinolone, Mollicutes, Macrolide, Azithromycin, Mycoplasma genitalium, Non-gonococcal urethritis