Translated title of the contribution: The immunitary response to antibiotics in patients with secondary immunodeficiency disorders

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A biological response modifier (BRM) has been defined as an agent able to modulate effector mechanisms or mediators of host defence. Some antibiotic molecules have been shown to display a BRM like activity, being able to enhance immune responses (certain cephalosporins), to synergize with the immune effectors (macrolides, quinolones) or alternatively, to depress immune functions (tetracyclines or antimycotic drugs). The BRM-like activity of different antibiotic molecules has been widely reported in in vitro studies as well as ex vivo in experimental animal models. Only recently some authors have approached the problem by investigating whether the in vivo administration of antibiotic was able to affect different immune effector functions, either in healthy subjects or in patients. The main question in the field is the possible clinical impact of the connections between antibiotics and the immune system, particularly in subjects with acquired immunodeficits in whom the impairment of the immune responses leads to increased susceptibility to infectious processes. Ex vivo data seem to suggest that cefodizime, one of the newest third-generation cephalosporins, is able to enhance phagocyte and mononuclear cell functions in healthy volunteers, thus confirming the possibility of combining an antibacterial efficacy with the ability to restore or enhance immune responses. Comparable data in studies investigating the effect of cefodizime on immune functions in immunocompromised patients such as elderly subjects, hemodialyzed or diabetic patients, BPCO subjects, patients undergoing surgical stress and patients with multiple myeloma are more important from a practical clinical point of view. However, having confirmed the BRM-like activity of an antibiotic molecule even in ex-vivo human studies, the problem of how to compare an antibiotic with BRM-like activity with another one lacking such activity but displaying a comparable antimicrobial effect is still an open question.

Translated title of the contributionThe immunitary response to antibiotics in patients with secondary immunodeficiency disorders
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)16-18
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Chemotherapy
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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