Objectives: The mechanism of the efficacy of long-term low-dose macrolide therapy for chronic sinusitis is not fully understood. The authors studied the inhibitory effect of erythromycin on interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion from exudative cells in the nasal discharge of patients with chronic sinusitis.
Study design and methods: Exudative cells in the nasal discharge were isolated from six patients with nonallergic chronic sinusitis. The cells, more than 90% of which were neutrophils, were incubated with or without erythromycin in the presence of 10 micrograms/mL of lipopolysaccharide. The IL-8 concentrations in the culture supernatants were measured by enzyme-linked immunoassay.
Results: The amount of secreted IL-8 in the absence of erythromycin was 682 +/- 226 pg/10(6) cells/24 h. The IL-8 secretion was significantly reduced to 66 +/- 15% and 46 +/- 13% of the control in the presence of 10(-6) and 10(-5) M of erythromycin, respectively.
Conclusion: Erythromycin may act as a biologic modulator that inhibits IL-8 secretion from exudative cells and thereby blocks the vicious circle of neutrophil recruitment and IL-8 generation in the inflammatory site in chronic sinusitis.