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(tĕ'trəsī`klēn), any of a group of antibiotics produced by bacteria of the genus Streptomyces. Effective against a wide range of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, tetracycline interferes with protein synthesis in these microorganisms (see Gram's stainGram's stain,
laboratory staining technique that distinguishes between two groups of bacteria by the identification of differences in the structure of their cell walls. The Gram stain, named after its developer, Danish bacteriologist Christian Gram, has become an important tool
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). It has been used to treat rickettsial bacterial infections such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, some eye, respiratory, intestinal, and urinary infections, some kinds of acne, and some diseases where the infecting microorganism is resistant to penicillinpenicillin,
any of a group of chemically similar substances obtained from molds of the genus Penicillium that were the first antibiotic agents to be used successfully in the treatment of bacterial infections in humans.
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 (see drug resistancedrug resistance,
condition in which infecting bacteria can resist the destructive effects of drugs such as antibiotics and sulfa drugs. Drug resistance has become a serious public health problem, since many disease-causing bacteria are no longer susceptible to previously
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). Tetracycline may cause permanent discoloration of developing teeth, and it is not given to pregnant and lactating women and growing children. Because of the development of strains of microorganisms resistant to the tetracyclines, these antibiotics have lost some of their usefulness. Aureomycin is a trade name for the derivative chlortetracycline, and Terramycin is a trade name for oxytetracycline. Omadacycline (trade name Nuzyra) is an antibiotic derived from tetracycline that has been chemically altered to block bacterial resistance.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



any of a group of natural and semisynthetic antibiotics of similar chemical structure and biological action. In terms of chemical structure, tetracyclines are a tetracyclic condensed system with various substituents.

The natural tetracyclines—oxytetracycline (terramycin), chlortetracycline (aureomycin), and tetracycline—were discovered and isolated in the 1940’s and 1950’s from the metabolic products of such actinomycetes as Actinomyces rimosus and A. aureofaciens. (In the non-Soviet literature, the genus Actinomyces is called Streptomyces.)

Preparations obtained by the chemical modification of natural tetracyclines, as well as semisynthetic derivatives of tetracycline, are also used in medicine. Examples of the first group are Reve-rin, morphocycline, and glycocycline; among the members of the second are methacycline hydrochloride (Rondomycin), doxycycline (Vibramycin), and minocycline.

Tetracyclines are broad-spectrum antibiotics. They inhibit the growth of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, spirochetes, leptospires, rickettsiae, mycoplasmas, several protozoans (amoe-bas and trichomonads), and large viruses of the psittacosis-lym-phogranuloma and trachoma groups. They are inactive or only slightly active against Proteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and most fungi and small viruses. The bacteriostatic action of tetracyclines results from the repression of protein biosynthesis in the bacterial cell.

The development of resistance to one of the tetracyclines is accompanied by resistance to all other tetracyclines except minocycline. Preparations combining tetracyclines with antibiotics having a different mechanism of antimicrobial action, such as oleandomycin, are used to prevent the propagation of strains resistant to tetracycline.

Tetracyclines are used for the treatment of diseases of the respiratory organs and the gastrointestinal, urinary, and biliary tracts, as well as infections of the soft tissues, epidemic typhus, and other diseases caused by microorganisms sensitive to these drugs. Tetracyclines are effective in infections caused by microorganisms that are resistant to other antibiotics.


Chernukh, A. M., and G. Ia. Kivman. Antibiotiki gruppy tetratsiklinov. Moscow, 1962.
Barton, D. H. R. “Novye puti sinteza tetratsiklina.” Zhurnal Vses. khimicheskogo obshchestva im. D. I. Mendeleeva, 1971, vol. 16, no. 2.
Navashin, S. M., and I. P. Fomina. Spravochnik po antibiotikam, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1974.
Finland, M. “Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Discovery of Aureomycin: The Place of the Tetracyclines in Antimicrobial Therapy.” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1974, vol. 15, no. 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Any of a group of broad-spectrum antibiotics produced biosynthetically by fermentation with a strain of Streptomyces aureofaciens and certain other species or chemically by hydrogenolysis of chlortetracycline.
C22H24O8N2 A broad-spectrum antibiotic belonging to the tetracycline group of antibiotics; useful because of broad antimicrobial action, with low toxicity, in the therapy of infections caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as well as rickettsiae and large viruses such as psittacosis-lymphogranuloma viruses.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Tetracyclines are the widely used therapeutic agents in human, veterinary medicines and also used in agriculture as growth promoter.
This then raises the question of how much short-wavelength light teeth are likely to encounter, in a way that can interact with tetracycline medicaments placed within the root canal.
Taken together, these considerations mean that little ambient sunlight or artificial light is likely to reach the root canal of a tooth to interact there with tetracycline medicaments.
The lack of erythromycin and tetracycline resistance genes was proved by PCR, as indicated earlier.
Dilutions of the mating mixtures were spread onto LB agar plates containing 10 [micro]g/ml tetracycline or erythromycin (Sigma-Aldrich) and selective antibiotic (chloramphenicol, rifampicin, or ampicillin, all from Sigma-Aldrich) (double selective medium), agar plates containing 10 [micro]g/ml tetracycline or erythromycin (Sigma-Aldrich) or selective antibiotic (single selective medium), and nonselective medium without antibiotics.
As expected, A, baumannii 34280 and K, pneumoniae 28341, both showing efflux-independent resistance (EIR) to tetracycline or chloramphenicol, presented no changes in the MIC, whether cultured in the presence of xylose or glucose as the sole carbon source (Table 1).
Schwarz, "Tetracycline and phenicol resistance genes and mechanisms: Importance for agriculture, the environment, and humans," Journal of Environmental Quality, vol.
(2001) states that oxalic acid can be used as a complexing agent in the mobile phase to improve peak shape and consistency of tetracycline. However, due to its non-volatility, oxalic acid may accumulate in the capillary interface or skimmer of the ESI or APCI source that may lead to clogging in the capillaries and can cause signal loss.
R-Biopharm, Bioo Scientific, and other manufacturers, such as Europroxima, Randox, Abraxis, and Cusabio[R],tociteafew, have developedimmunological assays for the screening of tetracyclines. All of these methods use monoclonal antibodies unique to tetracycline in a microtiter plate format, most often based on a biotinavidin ELISA reaction.
Tetracycline retains antibacterial properties in the environment for a certain period of time (Chander et al., 2005).
A parallel group randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare the efficacy of single dose oral azithromycin with topical tetracycline at Combined Military Hospital, Pano Aqil Cantonment from October 2010 to September 2013.