Molecular Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 11–12, pp 284–290 | Cite as

Morphine Reciprocally Regulates IL-10 and IL-12 Production by Monocyte-Derived Human Dendritic Cells and Enhances T Cell Activation

  • Davorka MessmerEmail author
  • Ikusuke Hatsukari
  • Naoko Hitosugi
  • Ingo G H Schmidt-Wolf
  • Pravin C Singhal
Research Article


We evaluated the effect of morphine on human dendritic cells (DCs). Interestingly, immature DCs were found to express all 3 (μ, κ, δ) opioid receptors on the cell surface. Chronic morphine treatment (10−8 to 10−12 M) during the development of DCs from monocytes augmented LPS-induced upregulation of HLA-DR, CD86, CD80, and CD83 and increased the T cell stimulatory capacity of DCs, which could be inhibited by naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist. The change in surface phenotype was paralleled by a p38 MAPK-dependent decrease in IL-10 and increase in IL-12 secretion. Our data indicate that morphine exerts an immunostimulatory effect by modulating LPS-induced DC maturation.



We wish to thank Gloria Telusma and Nick Franki for their technical assistance and Cathy Rapelje for FACS analysis. We also thank Ona Bloom for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by grants (5RO1DA12111) from the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davorka Messmer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ikusuke Hatsukari
    • 2
  • Naoko Hitosugi
    • 2
  • Ingo G H Schmidt-Wolf
    • 3
  • Pravin C Singhal
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental ImmunologyThe Feinstein Institute for Medical ResearchManhassetUSA
  2. 2.The Division of Kidney Diseases and HypertensionLong Island Jewish Medical CenterNew Hyde ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms UniversitaetBonnGermany

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