DAMGO-induced expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors: the role of TGF-beta1.


Studies from a number of laboratories suggest that modulation of cytokine expression plays an integral role in the immunomodulatory activity of opioids. Previously, our laboratory reported that activation of the mu-opioid receptor induced the expression of CCL2, CCL5, and CXCL10, as well as CCR5 and CXCR4. Previous work has also suggested the possibility that TGF-beta may participate in the opioid-induced regulation of immune competence, and in the present study, we set out to determine the role of this cytokine in the control of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression. We found that D-ala(2),N-Me-Phe(4)-Gly-ol(5)enkephalin (DAMGO), a highly selective mu-opioid agonist, induced the expression of TGF-beta1 expression at the protein and mRNA levels. In turn, the addition of TGF-beta1 was found to induce CCL5 and CXCR4 expression but not CCL2, CXCL10, or CCR5. Further analysis showed that pretreatment with neutralizing anti-TGF-beta1 blocked the ability of DAMGO to induce CCL5 or CXCR4. Similarly, pretreatment with cycloheximide prevented CCL5 or CXCR4 mRNA expression, consistent with the observation that DAMGO induction of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression requires newly synthesized TGF-beta1 protein. These results describe a common molecular basis for the activation of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression and may permit the development of strategies to inhibit certain undesirable immunological properties of micro-opioid agonists such as morphine and heroin.


Happel, Christine; Steele, Amber D; Finley, Matthew J; Kutzler, Michele A; Rogers, Thomas J;


  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL5/ genetics
  • Chemokines/ drug effects
  • Chemokines/ genetics
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-/ pharmacology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear/ cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear/ drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear/ physiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger/ genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR4/ genetics
  • Receptors, Chemokine/ drug effects
  • Receptors, Chemokine/ genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1/ genetics

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