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Postgrad Med J 83:100-104 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2006.049023
  • Review

Mycoplasma pneumoniae and its role in asthma

  1. Nazima Nisar1,
  2. Randeep Guleria2,
  3. Sanjay Kumar3,
  4. Tirlok Chand Chawla4,
  5. Nihar Ranjan Biswas5
  1. 1Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  2. 2Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  3. 3Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  4. 4Department of Ocular Pharmacology, Dr R P Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  5. 5Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R Guleria
 Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India;randeepg{at}hotmail.com
  • Accepted 13 July 2006
  • Revised 9 July 2006

Abstract

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.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.