, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 192–205 | Cite as

Topical Azithromycin and Clarithromycin Inhibit Acute and Chronic Skin Inflammation in Sensitized Mice, with Apparent Selectivity for Th2-Mediated Processes in Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity

  • Vanesa Ivetić TkalčevićEmail author
  • Snježana Čužić
  • Miroslava Dominis Kramarić
  • Michael J. Parnham
  • Vesna Eraković Haber


Macrolide antibiotics inhibit the secretion of Th1 cytokines while their effects on the release of Th2 cytokines are variable. We investigated molecular and cellular markers of Th1- and Th2-mediated inflammatory mechanisms and the anti-inflammatory activity of azithromycin and clarithromycin in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and oxazolone (OXA)-induced skin inflammation. Dexamethasone (50 μg/ear), azithromycin, and clarithromycin (500 μg/ear) reduced TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-1β concentration in ear tissue by inhibiting inflammatory cell accumulation in PMA-induced inflammation. In OXA-induced early delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), the macrolides (2 mg/ear) and dexamethasone (25 μg/ear) reduced ear tissue inflammatory cell infiltration and secretion of IL-4 while clarithromycin also decreased IFN-γ concentration. Macrolides showed better activity when administered after the challenge. In OXA-induced chronic DTH, azithromycin (1 mg/ear) reduced the number of ear tissue mast cells and decreased the concentration of IL-4 in ear tissue and of immunoglobulin (Ig)E in serum. Clarithromycin (1 mg/ear) reduced serum IgE concentration, possibly by a mechanism independent of IL-4, while both macrolides attenuated mast cell degranulation. In conclusion, azithromycin and clarithromycin attenuate pro-inflammatory cytokine production and leukocyte infiltration during innate immune reactions, while selectively affecting Th2 rather than Th1 immunity in DTH reactions.


macrolide anti-inflammatory activity oxazolone PMA skin inflammation Th2 cytokines 



This work was supported by GlaxoSmithKline Research Centre Zagreb Ltd. The authors wish to thank I. Glojnari, Ph.D. for team leading, and Ms. S. Skender and I. ubela and Mr. H. Poduška for their excellent technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanesa Ivetić Tkalčević
    • 1
    Email author
  • Snježana Čužić
    • 1
  • Miroslava Dominis Kramarić
    • 1
  • Michael J. Parnham
    • 1
  • Vesna Eraković Haber
    • 1
  1. 1.Galapagos istraživački centar d.o.o.ZagrebCroatia

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