Azithromycin modulates immune response of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells and CD4+ T cells

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Azithromycin (AZM) is a macrolide antibiotic that exhibits anti-inflammatory activity aside from its antimicrobial effect, a feature that may ameliorate certain inflammatory disorders and prevent graft-versus-host disease in patients receiving stem cell transplantation. In the present study, we investigated the ability of AZM to influence the function of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) and CD4+ T cells. We found that AZM down-regulated CD80, CD86, and HLA-DR expression in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated DCs and suppressed interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha production in these cells. In addition, AZM increased endocytosis and/or expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR)2, TLR4, and TLR9 in DCs and suppressed anti-CD3/CD28–induced CD4+ T cell proliferation and interferon-gamma production, an effect that was synergistic with dexamethasone. Finally, AZM suppressed DC-induced allogeneic T cell proliferation and cytokine production. Our study demonstrates that AZM modulates DC and CD4+ T cell function and may be of therapeutic benefit in various inflammatory disorders.

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