, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 609–617 | Cite as

Morphine Induces Splenocyte Apoptosis and Enhanced mRNA Expression of Cathepsin-B

  • Pravin C. Singhal
  • Krishna Reddy
  • Nicholas Franki
  • Vibha Sanwal
  • Nora Gibbons


Morphine has been demonstrated to modulate immune function. We studied whether morphine modulates apoptosis of splenocytes. Splenocytes were isolated from control and morphine treated rats. Splenocytes isolated from morphine treated rats showed increased percentage (P < 0.001) of apoptosis when compared to splenocytes isolated from untreated rats (control, 4.7 ± 1.0% apoptotic splenocytes/field vs. morphine, 47.8 ± 3.4% apoptotic splenocytes/field). These results were further confirmed by gel electrophoresis as well as by end-labeling DNA of splenocytes isolated from control and morphine treated rats. Splenocytes from morphine treated rats showed a classical ladder pattern with integer multiples of 180 base pairs. Splenocytes from morphine treated rats also showed increased mRNA expression of cathepsin-B, a gene associated with active cell death. These results suggest that morphine may also be modulating immune function by enhancing apoptosis of splenocytes.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pravin C. Singhal
    • 1
  • Krishna Reddy
    • 1
  • Nicholas Franki
    • 1
  • Vibha Sanwal
    • 1
  • Nora Gibbons
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineLong Island Jewish Medical Center, Long Island Campus for Albert Einstein College of MedicineNew Hyde Park

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