The Open Biochemistry Journal

ISSN: 1874-091X ― Volume 14, 2020

Tetracyclines: Insights and Updates of their Use in Human and Animal Pathology and their Potential Toxicity

Alessandro di Cerbo1, 2, *, Federica Pezzuto3, Gianandrea Guidetti4, Sergio Canello5, Lorenzo Corsi2
1 Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Dental School, University "G. d`Annunzio" of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy
2 Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
3 University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
4 SANYpet S.p.a., Department of Research and Development, Bagnoli di Sopra (Padua), Italy
5 Forza10 USA Corp., Department of Research and Development, Orlando (FL), USA


Tetracycline antibiotics (TCs) have been widely employed to treat bacterial infections and other pathologic conditions in humans and pets. Although most of TCs have been almost ruled out from the human clinical practice they are still used as growth promoters and to treat promiscuity and overcrowding pathologies in the intensive animal farming. As a consequence, TCs are commonly found in all ecological compartments with potential direct or indirect toxicological effects on animals and, generally, on all living organisms. Moreover, clinical and in vitro observations raised the hypothesis that the widespread of some adverse food reactions and, to a less extent, antibiotic resistance phenomena could be ascribed to the presence of TCs residues in edible and non-edible tissues of intensive animal farming intended for animal and human consumption. Such residues may pose serious health threat, depending on the type of food and the amount of residue present.

The aim of this review is to provide new insights about the clinical uses of TCs in humans and animals and their potential toxic effects as residues in the environment or as food components.

Keywords: Tetracycline antibiotics, Therapeutic applications, Toxicological effects, Companion animals, Residues, Food components.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
First Page: 1
Last Page: 12
Publisher Id: TOBIOCJ-13-1
DOI: 10.2174/1874091X01913010001

Article History:

Received Date: 06/11/2018
Revision Received Date: 28/01/2019
Acceptance Date: 06/02/2019
Electronic publication date: 28/02/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 di Cerbo et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Dental School, University G. d`Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy; Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy; E-mail:


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