The effect of azithromycin and clarithromycin on ex vivo interleukin-8 (IL-8) release from whole blood and IL-8 production by human alveolar macrophages

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2001 Jun;47(6):867-70. doi: 10.1093/jac/47.6.867.


We investigated the effects of azithromycin and clarithromycin, two antibiotics that possess a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity (including antimycobacterial activity), on interleukin-8 (IL-8) release from human whole blood leucocytes and lung macrophages. Ex vivo stimulation of leukocytes with either of the antibiotics (0.04-40 mg/L) significantly increased IL-8 secretion. Incubation of alveolar macrophages with different concentrations of azithromycin or clarithromycin modified IL-8 production: it increased at a drug concentration of 4 mg/L and decreased at concentration of 400 mg/L. Our findings suggest that azithromycin and clarithromycin may alter IL-8 production, thus enhancing the clinical effectiveness of these antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Azithromycin / pharmacology*
  • Clarithromycin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / drug effects*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Interleukin-8
  • Azithromycin
  • Clarithromycin