The in vitro priming of mouse spleen cultures with sheep erythrocytes (SE) was used to study the modulation of immune function by met-enkephalin (MENK). In these studies, suboptimal, optimal, and supraoptimal concentrations of SE were used to manipulate the plaque-forming cell (PFC) responses of cultured spleen cells. MENK, at a concentration of 10-7M, was able to abolish the high antigen dose-induced suppression of the PFC response, but was unable to increase the PFC response of cultures treated with suboptimal doses of antigen. On rare occasions when the supraoptimal dose of antigen did not suppress the immune response, the addition of 10-7M MENK to the culture medium suppressed the PFC response. Naloxone was unable to block the effect of MENK. These results indicate that the nature of the immune response must be taken into consideration when evaluating the effect of opioid peptides on immune function. We propose that MENK possesses a dual modulatory role, with the abilities to suppress a strong immune response and reverse high antigen-induced immunosuppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience