Mechanism of resistance acquisition and treatment of macrolide-resistant Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia in children

Hyeon Jong Yang, Dae Jin Song, Jung Yeon Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP) is one of the most common forms of community-acquired pneumonia in children and adolescents. Outbreaks of MPP occur in 3- to 7-year cycles worldwide; recent epidemics in Korea occurred in 2006–2007, 2011, and 2015–2016. Although MPP is known to be a mild, self-limiting disease with a good response to macrolides, it can also progress into a severe and fulminant disease. Notably, since 2000, the prevalence of macrolide-resistant MPP has rapidly increased, especially in Asian countries, recently reaching up to 80%–90%. Macrolide-resistant Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MRMP) harbors a point mutation in domain V of 23S rRNA with substitutions mainly detected at positions 2063 and 2064 of the sequence. The excessive use of macrolides may contribute to these mutations. MRMP can lead to clinically refractory pneumonia, showing no clinical or radiological response to macrolides, and can progress to severe and complicated pneumonia. Refractory MPP is characterized by an excessive immune response against the pathogen as well as direct injury caused by an increasing bacterial load. A change of antibiotics is recommended to reduce the bacterial load. Tetracyclines or quinolones can be alternatives for treating MRMP. Otherwise, corticosteroid or intravenous immunoglobulin can be added to the treatment regimen as immunomodulators to down-regulate an excessive host immune reaction and alleviate immune-mediated pulmonary injury. However, the exact starting time point, dose, or duration of immunomodulators has not been established. This review focuses on the mechanism of resistance acquisition and treatment options for MRMP pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalKorean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Drug resistance
  • Macrolides
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pediatrics


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