AskDefine | Define tetracycline

Dictionary Definition

tetracycline n : an antibiotic (trade name Achromycin) derived from microorganisms of the genus Streptomyces and used broadly to treat infections [syn: Achromycin]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. an antibiotic produced by the Streptomyces bacterium
  2. any antibiotic with the same general structure derived from tetracene with many hydroxyl and other groups

Extensive Definition

This article deals with the specific antibiotic called tetracycline. For the group of antibiotics known as the tetracyclines, see tetracycline antibiotics.
Tetracycline (INN) () is a broad-spectrum polyketide antibiotic produced by the Streptomyces bacterium, indicated for use against many bacterial infections. It is commonly used to treat acne. It is sold under the brand names Sumycin, Terramycin, Tetracyn, and Panmycin, among others. Actisite is a thread-like fiber form, used in dental applications. It is also used to produce several semi-synthetic derivatives, which together are known as the Tetracycline antibiotic group.

Mode of action


Tetracycline's primary use is for the treatment of acne vulgaris and rosacea.
It is also used to treat a very wide range of infections; see tetracycline antibiotics for details.

Other uses

Since tetracycline is absorbed into bone, it is used as a marker of bone growth for biopsies in humans, and as a biomarker in wildlife to detect consumption of medicine- or vaccine-containing baits. The presence of tetracycline in bone is detected by its fluorescence.
In genetic engineering tetracycline is used in transcriptional activation. Tetracycline is also one of the antibiotics used to treat ulcers caused by bacterial infections. In cancer research at Harvard Medical School, tetracycline has been used to reliably cause regression of advanced stages of leukemia in mice, by putting this inexpensive antibiotic into their drinking water.


tetracycline in Arabic: تتراسايكلن
tetracycline in Min Nan: Tetracycline
tetracycline in Czech: tetracyklin
tetracycline in German: Tetracyclin
tetracycline in Spanish: Tetraciclina
tetracycline in French: Tétracycline
tetracycline in Dutch: Tetracycline
tetracycline in Japanese: テトラサイクリン
tetracycline in Polish: Tetracyklina
tetracycline in Portuguese: Tetraciclina
tetracycline in Russian: Тетрациклин
tetracycline in Slovenian: Tetraciklin
tetracycline in Swedish: Tetracyklin
tetracycline in Thai: เตตร้าซัยคลิน
tetracycline in Turkish: Tetrasiklin
tetracycline in Chinese: 四環素
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