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J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Aug 1;108(1-2):160-70.

Co-expression of beta-endorphin with adhesion molecules in a model of inflammatory pain.

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  • 1Klinik für Anaesthesiologie und operative Intensivmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, D 12200, Berlin, Germany.


Opioid-containing immunocytes migrate to inflamed sites where they release beta-endorphin which activates peripheral opioid receptors and produces analgesia. The immigration of immunocytes to sites of inflammation is mediated by adhesion molecules. In this study, the expression of L-, P-, E-selectin and platelet-endothelial adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) in relation to beta-endorphin expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in inflamed tissues. The proportion of immunocytes expressing L-selectin was increased in inflamed lymph nodes and subcutaneous paw tissue. P-selectin and PECAM-1 were constitutively expressed on endothelia of noninflamed lymph nodes and subcutaneous tissue and were upregulated in inflammation. beta-endorphin positive cells expressed L-selectin in lymph nodes and subcutaneous tissue. Upregulation of P-selectin and PECAM-1 and the co-localization of L-selectin and beta-endorphin in immunocytes suggest an important role of these adhesion molecules for the recruitment of immunocytes containing beta-endorphin to sites of painful inflammation.

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