Characterization of [3H]morphine binding to interleukin-1-activated thymocytes

Sabita Roy, B. L. Ge, Horace H Loh, N. M. Lee

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31 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that interleukin-1-induced proliferation of thymocytes is accompanied by the appearance of [3H] morphine binding sites on these cells. In the present study, we have characterized these binding sites. They differ from classical opioid receptors in the brain in several ways, including: 1) lack of stereoselectivity; 2) relatively low affinity (K(d) = 50 nM) and high capacity (B(max) = 3 pmol/mg of protein); 3) binding is strongly inhibited by Ca++, Mg++, Mn++ and Cl- ions and 4) binding is inhibited by proteinase K or E and by phospholipase A2 but not trypsin treatment of thymocyte membranes. The binding sites, which were found largely on the CD4+ subset of T-cells, also showed a preference for opioid alkaloids over peptides. These [3H]morphine binding sites may mediate a negative feedback effect on interleukin-1-induced proliferation of thymocytes in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-456
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


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