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Systemic morphine administration suppresses genes involved in antigen presentation.

Authors: Beagles, K  Wellstein, A  Bayer, B 
Citation: Beagles K, etal., Mol Pharmacol. 2004 Feb;65(2):437-42.
Pubmed: (View Article at PubMed) PMID:14742686
DOI: Full-text: DOI:10.1124/mol.65.2.437

Administration of opioids in both humans and animal models results in significant alterations in immune system responsiveness. Although the majority of studies have focused on phenotypic changes in immune cells after short- and long-term morphine administration, few studies have determined whether alterations in gene expression profiles accompany these effects. To address this question, rats were treated with either morphine (20 mg/kg) or saline, and changes in gene expression and function in blood leukocytes were examined. Within 2 h, morphine administration resulted in a decrease in blood leukocyte expression of the major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II RT1.B beta) (-3.27-fold) and related molecules, including the MHC II invariant chain (-2.73-fold). Furthermore, these changes in gene expression were accompanied by a significant decrease in surface MHC II RT1.B beta protein expression, specifically on B lymphocytes. Morphine administration was also found to inhibit IL-4 induced up-regulation of MHC II RT1.B beta cell surface expression on B lymphocytes. This is the first demonstration that receptors involved in antigen presentation are modified after systemic morphine administration. We propose that the inability of B lymphocytes to up-regulate key immune proteins, such as the MHC II molecule, after exposure to antigen-induced cytokine production may account for the increase in the susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections such as HIV in both drug abusers and patients receiving morphine.


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CRRD Object Information
CRRD ID: 7488923
Created: 2013-12-06
Species: All species
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Status: ACTIVE


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