Subantibiotic dose of azithromycin attenuates alveolar bone destruction and improves trabecular microarchitectures in a rat model of experimental periodontitis: A study using micro-computed tomography

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Azithromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities apart from its antibacterial properties. In this study, we examined the efficacy of subantibiotic dose of azithromycin on ligature-induced periodontitis in rats using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) imaging and bone parameter analysis. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were allocated to the following four groups: non-ligation (NL) group; ligation-only (L) group; ligation-plus-subantibiotic dose azithromycin (SA) group; and 4) ligation-plus-antibiotic dose azithromycin (AA) group. The rats from Groups L, SA and AA were subjected to periodontitis by placing a ligature around lower right first molar. Immediately after ligation, the rats in SA and AA groups received daily intraperitoneal injections of azithromycin at a dosage of 3.5 or 10 mg/kg body weight, respectively. The ligatures were maintained for 2 weeks at which time the rats had their mandibles hemisected for micro-CT analysis. Subantibiotic dose of azithromycin strongly suppressed reductions in alveolar bone height and bone volume fraction caused by experimental periodontitis. When subantibiotic dosage of azithromycin was administered to rats, ligature-induced alterations in microarchitectural parameters of trabecular bone were significantly reversed. Rats treated with subantibiotic dose of azithromycin presented no significant difference compared to rats with antibiotic dosage in all parameters. While further studies are necessary, subantibiotic dose of azithromycin could be utilized as a host modulator for the treatment of periodontitis.

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