, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 77-89
Date: 10 Feb 2006

Modulation of Immune Function by Morphine: Implications for Susceptibility to Infection

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Introduction

The outcome of microbial infection in an organism is a dynamic process that depends on factors derived from both the microorganism and the host. In chronic human infections, the kind of immune response made in response to pathogens may be of vital importance to host defense. An inappropriate immune response may not only result in lack of protection, but even contribute to disease severity. Chronic morphine use and abuse has been documented to result in severe immune consequence (Roy and Loh 1996; Dinda et al. 2005; Friedman and Eisenstein 2004) and thus may pose a significant risk factor to opportunistic infection. It is therefore not surprising that epidemiological studies show increased prevalence of opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, HIV infection, and pneumonia in opioid abusers (Quaglio et al. 2002; Nath et al. 2002; Georges et al. 1999). Besides the sharing of unsterilized, contaminated needles, the occurrence of infections in these patients has been attri ...