The role of the μ-opioid receptor in immune function was investigated using μ-opioid receptor knockout mice (MOR-KO). Morphine modulation of several immune functions, including macrophage phagocytosis and macrophage secretion of TNF-α, was not observed in the MOR-KO animals, suggesting that these functions are mediated by the classical μ-opioid receptor. In contrast, morphine reduction of splenic and thymic cell number and mitogen-induced proliferation were unaffected in MOR-KO mice, as was morphine inhibition of IL-1 and IL-6 secretion by macrophages. These latter results are consistent with morphine action on a naloxone insensitive morphine receptor, a conclusion supported by previous studies characterizing a nonopioid morphine binding site on immune cells. Alternatively, morphine may act either directly or indirectly on these cells, by a mechanism mediated by either delta or kappa opioid receptors. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants DA00564, DA01583, DA05695, K05-DA70554, F. and A. Stark Fund (MMF)-HHL and DA 08188 (SR).
- μ-Opioid receptor