Cocaine-mediated suppression of superoxide production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

C. C. Chao, T. W. Molitor, G. Gekker, P. Murtaugh, P. K. Peterson

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23 Scopus citations


Cocaine, like opiates, modulates a variety of immune functions. In the present study, we investigated the effect of cocaine on superoxide anion (O-2) production, an index of a microbicidal activity, by cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Release of O-2 was measured by superoxide dismutase-inhibitable reduction of ferricytochrome C in response to phorbolmyristate acetate. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells cultured in the presence of cocaine (1 μM) for 48 hr released less (P<.05) O-2 than did nontreated control cells (95.1 ± 10.2 vs. 57.9 ± 6.6 nmol/107 cells/60 min, respectively). This suppressive effect was dose-dependent. Antibodies to transforming growth factor-beta, a cytokine inhibitory of monocyte O-2 production, abrogated (P<.01 ) cocaine-mediated suppression, suggesting that transforming growth factor-beta is involved in the suppression. Also, naloxone blocked (P<.01) the suppressive effects of both cocaine and transforming growth factor-beta on O-2 production, suggesting that the suppressive mechanism is naloxone-sensitive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-258
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


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