Differential expression of opioid receptor genes in human lymphoid cell lines and peripheral blood lymphocytes

Marilee J. Wick, Sharon R. Minnerath, Sabita Roy, S. Ramakrishnan, Horace H. Loh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The existence of receptors for opioid compounds on-cells of the immune system has long been hypothesized, but has been very difficult to demonstrate unequivocally. We have used reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction to obtain cDNA clones from the human MOLT-4 and CEM-3 T-leukemic cell lines which are nearly identical to portions of the δ and κ opioid receptor cDNAs recently isolated from human brain and placenta, respectively. Northern analyses with riboprobes derived from the δ and κ opioid receptor clones indicate these sequences are expressed at low levels in human peripheral blood lymphocytes and in several human lymphoid cell lines. Sequences corresponding to the μ opioid receptor cDNA were not detected in this study. These results suggest that δ and κ opioid receptors may be responsible for mediating some direct effects of opioids in immune cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Delta opioid receptor
  • Human CEM-3 T-leukemic cell line
  • Human Molt-4 T-leukemic cell line
  • Human peripheral blood lymphocytes
  • Kappa opioid receptor
  • Northern analysis
  • Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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