Mycoplasma pneumoniae and its role in asthma

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Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M pneumoniae), primarily recognised as a causative agent of community-acquired pneumonia has recently been linked to asthma. An infection with M pneumoniae may precede the onset of asthma or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Chronic infection with M pneumoniae has been suspected to play a part in some patients with asthma. The role of immunoglobulin E-related hypersensitivity and induction of T helper type 2 immune response leading to inflammatory response in M pneumoniae-infected patients with asthma have also been proposed. Use of macrolides in reducing asthma symptoms only in M pneumoniae-infected patients supports the use of macrolides in patients with asthma having M pneumoniae infection. As macrolides are both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory drugs, the therapeutic role of their biphasic nature in reducing asthma symptoms needs further attention in clinical research.

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