Regulatory Effects of Macrolides on Bacterial Virulence: Potential Role as Quorum-Sensing Inhibitors

Author(s): Kazuhiro Tateda, Theodore J. Standiford, Jean Claude Pechere, Keizo Yamaguchi.

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 10 , Issue 25 , 2004


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen, and this organism is a major cause of pulmonary damage and mortality in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), diffuse panbronchiolitis (DPB) and other forms of bronchiectasis. A break-through in the treatment of DPB and associated chronic P. aeruginosa pulmonary infection was realized when a patient with DPB improved dramatically after treatment with erythromycin for years. Now, long-term macrolide therapy has become a first line of treatment in DPB patients, and the immunomodulatory properties have now been extended to other clinical settings, including CF. An important factor in the pathogenesis of chronic P. aeruginosa infection is a bacterial cell-to-cell signaling mechanism, referred to as “quorum sensing”, which enables bacteria to coordinately turn on and off specific virulence genes through the production of autoinducer molecules. Interference or blocking of quorum-sensing systems has been considered an attractive therapeutic strategy. Clinical and basic science data suggests the potential of macrolides as relevant inhibitors of the Pseudomonas quorum-sensing system. In fact, certain macrolides strongly suppressed quorum-sensing associated genes and autoinducer production, in addition to inhibition of a variety of virulence factors. In this review, clinical efficacy of macrolides on DPB and CF patients will be briefly summarized. Additionally, the mechanisms of action of macrolides will be discussed from the standpoint of sub-MIC macrolide effects on P. aeruginosa, particularly the ability of this antibiotic to suppress quorum-sensing systems, which may be crucial in the pathogenesis of chronic P. aeruginosa infection.

Keywords: quorum-sensing system, macrolide, pseudomonas aeruginosa, autoinducer, diffuse panbronchiolitis, cystic fibrosis

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Article Details

Year: 2004
Page: [3055 - 3065]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/1381612043383377
Price: $58

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PDF: 11