Biological effects of quinolones: A family of broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents

Ana R. Millanao, Aracely Y. Mora, Nicolás A. Villagra, Sergio A. Bucarey, Alejandro A. Hidalgo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Broad antibacterial spectrum, high oral bioavailability and excellent tissue penetration combined with safety and few, yet rare, unwanted effects, have made the quinolones class of antimicrobials one of the most used in inpatients and outpatients. Initially discovered during the search for improved chloroquine-derivative molecules with increased anti-malarial activity, today the quinolones, intended as antimicrobials, comprehend four generations that progressively have been extending antimicrobial spectrum and clinical use. The quinolone class of antimicrobials exerts its antimicrobial actions through inhibiting DNA gyrase and Topoisomerase IV that in turn inhibits synthesis of DNA and RNA. Good distribution through different tissues and organs to treat Grampositive and Gram-negative bacteria have made quinolones a good choice to treat disease in both humans and animals. The extensive use of quinolones, in both human health and in the veterinary field, has induced a rise of resistance and menace with leaving the quinolones family ineffective to treat infections. This review revises the evolution of quinolones structures, biological activity, and the clinical importance of this evolving family. Next, updated information regarding the mechanism of antimicrobial activity is revised. The veterinary use of quinolones in animal productions is also considered for its environmental role in spreading resistance. Finally, considerations for the use of quinolones in human and veterinary medicine are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7153
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Quinolones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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