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J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Jan;146(1-2):13-21.

Dual effects of morphine on permeability and apoptosis of vascular endothelial cells: morphine potentiates lipopolysaccharide-induced permeability and apoptosis of vascular endothelial cells.

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Department of Biology, Seton Hall University, 400 South Orange, NJ 07079, USA.


Vascular endothelial cells (VEC) provide an essential protective barrier between the vascular system and underlying tissues. Using VEC barrier models of human coronary artery cells and human and rat brain microvascular endothelial cells, we investigated the mechanism by which morphine affects lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced VEC permeability. We demonstrated that co-administration of morphine and LPS induced greater VEC apoptosis and permeability than morphine or LPS alone. The extent of induced apoptosis appeared to be cell-type dependent. Furthermore, RT-PCR analysis revealed that morphine and LPS up-regulated Fas expression. These data suggest potential crosstalk between the signaling pathways that mediate morphine- and LPS-triggered apoptosis in brain VEC.

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