Immunomodulatory activity of pidotimod administered with standard antibiotic therapy in children hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia

Susanna Esposito, Micaela Garziano, Veronica Rainone, Daria Trabattoni, Mara Biasin, Laura Senatore, Paola Marchisio, Marta Rossi, Nicola Principi, Mario Clerici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Several attempts to improve immune function in young children have been made and encouraging results have been collected with pidotimod (PDT), a synthetic dipeptide molecule that seems to have immunomodulatory activity on both innate and adaptive responses. Until now, the effects of PDT on the immune system have only been studied in vivo after long-term administration to evaluate whether its immunomodulatory activity might prevent the development of infections. This study was planned to evaluate the immunomodulatory activity of PDT administered together with standard antibiotic therapy in children hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Methods: A total of 20 children hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) were randomized at a 1:1 ratio to receive either standard antibiotics plus pidotimod (PDT) or standard antibiotics alone to evaluate the immunomodulatory activity of PDT. Blood samples for the evaluation of immunological parameters were drawn at the time of recruitment (T0) (i.e., before therapy administration), at T3 and T5 (i.e., 3 and 5 days after the initiation of therapy) as well as at T21 (i.e., 7 days after the therapy ended). Results: Following pneumococcal polysaccharide stimulation, the percentage of dendritic cells (DCs) expressing activation and costimulatory molecules was significantly higher in children receiving PDT plus antibiotics than in the controls. A significant increase in tumor necrosis factor-aα and/or interleukin-12 secretion and expression of toll like receptor 2 was observed in PDT-treated children compared with controls; this was followed by an increased release of proinflammatory cytokines by monocytes. In the PDT-treated group, mRNA expression of antimicrobial peptides and genes involved in the inflammatory response were also augmented in comparison with the controls. Conclusions: These results demonstrate, for the first time, that PDT administered together with standard antibiotics is associated with a favorable persistent immunomodulatory effect in children with CAP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number288
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 3 2015



  • Children
  • Community-acquired pneumonia
  • Immunomodulatory activity
  • Immunostimulants
  • Pidotimod
  • Respiratory tract infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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