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OBJECTIVE To investigate the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of tulathromycin in vitro and in experimental models of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae–induced pleuropneumonia and zymosan-induced pulmonary inflammation in pigs.
ANIMALS Blood samples from six 8- to 30-week-old healthy male pigs for the in vitro experiment and sixty-five 3-week-old specific pathogen–free pigs.
PROCEDURES Neutrophils and monocyte-derived macrophages were isolated from blood samples. Isolated cells were exposed to tulathromycin (0.02 to 2.0 mg/mL) for various durations and assessed for markers of apoptosis and efferocytosis. For in vivo experiments, pigs were inoculated intratracheally with A pleuropneumoniae, zymosan, or PBS solution (control group) with or without tulathromycin pretreatment (2.5 mg/kg, IM). Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected 3 and 24 hours after inoculation and analyzed for proinflammatory mediators, leukocyte apoptosis, and efferocytosis.
RESULTS In vitro, tulathromycin induced time- and concentration-dependent apoptosis in neutrophils, which enhanced their subsequent clearance by macrophages. In the lungs of both A pleuropneumoniae– and zymosan-challenged pigs, tulathromycin promoted leukocyte apoptosis and efferocytosis and inhibited proinflammatory leukotriene B4 production, with a concurrent reduction in leukocyte necrosis relative to that of control pigs. Tulathromycin also attenuated the degree of lung damage and lesion progression in A pleuropneumoniae–inoculated pigs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Tulathromycin had immunomodulatory effects in leukocytes in vitro and anti-inflammatory effects in pigs in experimental models of A pleuropneumoniae infection and nonmicrobial-induced pulmonary inflammation. These data suggested that in addition to its antimicrobial properties, tulathromycin may dampen severe proinflammatory responses and drive resolution of inflammation in pigs with microbial pulmonary infections.