Impairment of innate immune killing mechanisms by bacteriostatic antibiotics

Sascha A. Kristian, Anjuli M. Timmer, George Y. Liu, Xavier Lauth, Neta Sal-Man, Yosef Rosenfeld, Yechiel Shai, Richard L. Gallo, Victor Nizet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Antibiotics are designed to support host defense in controlling infection. Here we describe a paradoxical inhibitory effect of bacteriostatic antibiotics on key mediators of mammalian innate immunity. When growth of species including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus is suppressed by chloramphenicol or erythromycin, the susceptibility of the bacteria to cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides or serum complement was markedly diminished. Survival of the bacteria in human whole blood, human wound fluid, or a mouse wound infection model was in turn increased after antibiotic-induced bacteriostasis. These findings provide a further rationale against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1116
Number of pages10
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Cathelicidin
  • Complement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Impairment of innate immune killing mechanisms by bacteriostatic antibiotics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this