Medycyna Wet. 68 (2), 79-83, 2012

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Pejsak Z., Truszczyński M.
Immunomodulating properties of antimicrobial drugs
The purpose of this article is to present immunosuppressive and immunostimulating properties of antimicrobial drugs, particularly of antibiotics. Among the former, also known as the adverse effects of these substances on the immune response, the article discusses chemotaxis, lymphocyte transformation, delayed hypersensitivity, antibody production, phagocytosis and the microbial activity of phagocytes. The immunostimulatory effects of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, can occasionally be therapeutically useful, at present in human medicine. In a general sense, immunomodulatory effects of antimicrobial drugs fall into the following categories: stimulation of the inflammatory response, inhibition of the anti-inflammatory response, and promotion of the anti-inflammatory response. The immunomodulatory effects of antibiotics have mainly been shown in vitro or in experiments with laboratory animals. Until now, there has been little evidence from clinical observations, particularly in relation to infectious diseases of domestic animals, that these modulatory actions of antibiotics play a significant role. As far as humans are concerned, the most convincing in this respect are the anti-inflammatory effects of macrolides and tetracyclines. Considering the importance of antibiotics that – in addition to their antimicrobial action – would also stimulate the innate and specific immunity in the control of bacterial diseases of animals, further research in this area is needed.
Keywords: antibiotics, immunomodulation, need for further research