Effects of opioids on the immune system

  title={Effects of opioids on the immune system},
  author={Sabita Roy and Horace H Loh},
  journal={Neurochemical Research},
Both therapeutic and chronic uses of opioids compromise the optimal functioning of the immune system. Overwhelming evidence suggests that opioid use affects both innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Chronic administration of opioids decreases the proliferative capacity of macrophage progenitor cells and lymphocytes. Additionally, the differentiated function of immune cells is significantly affected by opioids. These effects are mediated by either a direct action of opioids on the target cells… 
Opioid Receptor Antagonist-Mediated Signaling in the Immune System
This chapter will emphasize what is known about the biologic and clinical effects of opioids on immune function with a focus on the role of opioid antagonists.
Opioid Therapy and Immunosuppression: A Review
The fact that peripheral immunosupression is mediated at least in part by opioid receptors located in the central nervous system and that intrathecally administered opioids do not exert the same immunosuppressive effects may have important clinical implications for those patients receiving long-term opioid therapy for malignant and nonmalignant pain.
Effects of Opioid Tolerance and Withdrawal on the Immune System
Review of the robust literature using acute drug injection paradigms points clearly to the conclusion that morphine is immunosuppressive. In contrast, studies of the effect of subacute or chronic
Immunomodulatory effects of opioids.
While opioids remain the most powerful and widely used analgesics available, their negative effects on the immune system are well established in the laboratory setting.
One of the principal ways through which opioids influence the immunological system could be the induction of the immune cell apoptosis and this phenomena seems related to direct receptoral mechanism.
Drugs of Abuse, Immune Modulation, and AIDS
  • G. Cabral
  • Biology
    Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
  • 2006
There is a paucity of controlled longitudinal epidemiological studies that definitively correlate immunosuppressive effects with increased incidence of infections or immune disorders in humans, including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or disease progression to AIDS.
Morphine, Th1/Th2 Differentiation, and Susceptibility to Infection
The results show that chronic morphine treatment in vitro directs T-helper cells toward Th2 differentiation, and shows that Chronic morphine treatment differentially modulates the transcriptional “switches” GATA3 and T-bet, thus providing a molecular mechanism by which morphine directs CD4+ differentiation.
Opioid peptides in cancer
This review presents recent developments on the identification of opioid ligands and receptors in different types of human neoplasia and deals with the mechanisms of opioid peptide action in carcinoma and the involvement of opioids in the regulation of tumor growth.
Loss of Morphine-induced Suppression of NK Cell activity and T-cell Functions in µ-Opioid Receptor Knockout Mice
A role of the µ-opioid receptor in immunoregulation is suggested using a mouse model in which this receptor was disrupted by targeted homologous recombination and morphine treatment suppressed NK cell activity and T lymphocyte function.
Morphine Reciprocally Regulates IL-10 and IL-12 Production by Monocyte-Derived Human Dendritic Cells and Enhances T Cell Activation
The data indicate that morphine exerts an immunostimulatory effect by modulating LPS-induced DC maturation, which could be inhibited by naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist.


Effects of opioids on proliferation of mature and immature immune cells.
Mice treated chronically with morphine, then isolated their bone marrow cells and tested their sensitivity to several cytokines that normally induce proliferation and/or differentiation of subpopulations of these cells, finding that mice with a high sensitivity to opioids suffered from an increased incidence of infectious diseases.
Opioid dependency and T-helper cell functions in rhesus monkey.
Administration of morphine sulfate to rhesus monkeys may activate the quiescent lymphocyte for proliferation, induce a transient increase in the T cell proliferative response to mitogens, and cause
Cellular mechanisms involved in morphine-mediated suppression of CTL activity.
Based on a plethora of data from many laboratories, we have proposed the following mechanisms by which morphine alters immune homeostasis and immunocompetence in vivo (Fig. 2). Specifically, the
Morphine-induced alterations of immune status: dose dependency, compartment specificity and antagonism by naltrexone.
The results show that morphine's immunomodulatory effects are dose dependent, compartment specific and antagonized by naltrexone.
Mechanisms of morphine-induced immunosuppression: effect of acute morphine administration on lymphocyte trafficking.
Data suggest that both an adrenal-dependent lymphopenia and an opioid-induced decrease in responsiveness to mitogenic stimulation contribute to the overall antiproliferative effect of morphine on blood lymphocytes.
Opioids, receptors, and immunity.
There is no longer any question that opioids produce a variety of effects on the immune system, but the extent and significance of these changes in the drug-abusing population remains to be determined.
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Morphine is a drug of abuse with an ability to down-regulate immune responsiveness that could have potentially serious consequences in both heroin addicts and in the clinical environment, and an indirect mechanism of action to operate through lymphocyte opiate receptors is suggested.
Differential effects of opioids on the proliferation of a macrophage cell line, Bac 1.2F5.
These studies show that Bac 1.2F5 cells are suitable for the molecular characterization of opioid effects on the proliferation and differentiation of myeloid progenitor cells.
Macrophage functions in drugs of abuse-treated mice.