Kappa Opioid Receptors on Immune Cells as Studied by Fluorescent Ligands

  • Jean M. Bidlack
  • Diane M. P. Lawrence
  • Tracey A. Ignatowski
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 402)


Despite both functional (1–4) and molecular biological (5–8) evidence for the presence of opioid receptors on lymphocytes, the search for opioid binding sites on leukocytes has been difficult. Opioid binding sites possessing all the characteristics of the classical brain opioid receptors had not been detected until the identification of the κ opioid receptor on the mouse Rl.l thymoma cell line (9,10). Possible reasons why opioid receptors have been difficult to detect on mixed cell populations from the immune system include: 1) opioid receptors may be expressed on only a small population of lymphocytes; 2) the expression of opioid receptors on lymphocyte changes during lymphocyte maturation; and 3) radioreceptor binding methodology is not sufficiently sensitive to detect opioid receptors present at a low density. While the R1.1 cell line was useful in establishing that a lymphocyte could express an opioid receptor, interest still lies in determining if lymphocytes from a mixed cell population, such as thymus and spleen, express opioid receptors. To address this question, we developed an indirect immunofluorescent method that is more sensitive than radioreceptor binding assays (11,12).


Opioid Receptor Specific Label Kappa Opioid Receptor Mixed Cell Population Mouse Thymocyte 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean M. Bidlack
    • 1
  • Diane M. P. Lawrence
    • 1
  • Tracey A. Ignatowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and PhysiologyUniversity of Rochester, School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA

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