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Brain Behav Immun. 1989 Jun;3(2):183-9.

Methionine-enkephalin stimulates in vitro proliferation of human peripheral lymphocytes via delta-opioid receptors.

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  • 1Polytechnic of Central London, School of Paramedical Studies, England.


The influence of methionine-enkephalin (Met-Enk) on in vitro proliferation of human peripheral lymphocytes was investigated. Met-Enk, in the concentration range 10(-12) to 10(-4) M enhanced the proliferative response to suboptimal concentrations of concanavalin A of human peripheral lymphocytes and to cells in the absence of mitogen. The response to Met-Enk in the absence of mitogen was not influenced by the presence of fetal calf serum: similar levels of enhancement were seen in cultures supplemented with 10% autologous serum. Enhancement of proliferation was blocked in a concentration-dependent manner by both naloxone and the delta specific antagonist ICI-174864. The sensitivity to the antagonistic influence of ICI-174864 suggests strongly that the stimulatory influence of Met-Enk on human lymphocyte proliferation in the absence of mitogen is mediated via the delta-opioid receptor.

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