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Immunol Lett. 2013 Apr;152(1):42-6. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2013.04.003. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

The plasma levels of the cytokines in opium-addicts and the effects of opium on the cytokines secretion by their lymphocytes.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, Iran.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of opium addiction on the secretion of IL-4, IFN-γ, IL-6 and TGF-β under in vivo and in vitro conditions. The blood samples were collected and PBMCs were cultured in RPMI1640 with and without opium for 48 h. The levels of the cytokines were measured using ELISA technique. The results showed that plasma levels of IL-4 and IFN-γ were significantly lower and IL-6 and TGF-β were higher in plasma taken from opium-addicted subjects. The concentrations of all the cytokines in opium-addicted subjects in in vitro condition were significantly lower than the control group. Addicted subjects cultured lymphocytes significantly decrease secreted IL-4, IL-6 and TGF-β but not IFN-γ in response to being cultured with opium, where as IFN-γ was increased in controls. These results may explain the frequent microbial infections and an increased tumor incidence seen in addicted patients.

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