Influence of antimicrobial drugs on opsonization of microorganisms

Antimicrobial drugs can change the opsonic requirements of bacteria by inducing changes on the surface of the bacteria. Drugs that inhibit protein synthesis are especially effective in this respect. For example, treatment of Streptococcus pyogenes with clindamycin or lincomycin decreases the expression of M protein on the bacteria. Since M protein inhibits complement activation, decreased expression of M protein results in an increased deposition of C3 molecules on the surface of the bacteria. This explains the enhanced phagocytosis of clindamycin- or lincomycin-treated S. pyogenes by granulocytes and monocytes. Clindamycin has also been shown to increase the phagocytosis of Staphlococcus aureus by granulocytes and macrophages. This has been attributed to a decreased protein A synthesis by clinda-mycin-treated S. aureus. This may result in more effective opsonization since protein A binds to the Fc part of IgG.

See also: Bacteria, immunity to; Chemotaxis; Complement, alternative pathway; Complement, classical pathway; Complement receptors; Fc receptors; Immunoglobulin, functions; Monocytes; Mononuclear phagocyte system; Neutrophils; Phagocytosis.

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