Azithromycin could be used to treat allergic airway inflammation associated with asthma by modulating the gut microbiota, according to new research.

Researchers from Korea compared cefixime vs azithromycin in ovalbumin-induced (OVA) mice with asthma during the OVA challenge period. This step was performed to induce changes in gut microbiota. Additionally, the microbiomes in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and feces were examined to characterize the mechanisms underlying the effect of gut microbiota on airway inflammation. A fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) was also performed.

Mice treated with azithromycin had greater reductions in airway hyperresponsiveness as well as eosinophilia and interleukin (IL)-4/IL-5/L-13 in BALF compared with the cefixime-treated model and OVA-none group. According to the investigators, these findings suggest azithromycin therapy may function against airway hyperresponsiveness as well as airway inflammation in patients with allergic asthma.