Introduction: A growing body of basic and clinical science implicates Mycoplasma pneumonia in asthma, but its exact contribution to asthma development, exacerbation and persistence is as yet unclear.
State of the art: M. pneumoniae infection, with the induction of bronchial hyperresponsiveness, seems to be a precipitating factor for asthma development in predisposed subjects. M. pneumoniae has been seen both in acute exacerbation (18-20%) and in chronically infected adults with stable asthma, where it may be enhancing chronic airway inflammation.
Perspectives: If M. pneumoniae plays a role in the development or progression of asthma, its eradication might influence the clinical course of the disease and improve symptoms. Macrolide treatment, with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, could have a place in the management of asthma, especially steroid-dependent asthma.
Conclusions: M. pneumoniae infection seems to be important in asthma pathogenesis and the clinical course of the disease. Difficulty in detecting the pathogen complicates investigations. Ongoing research will further determine the place of macrolide antibiotics in asthma management.
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