Background/Aims Endogenous opioids accumulate in plasma in cholestasis. Furthermore, immune cells have opioid receptors, and endogenous opioids have immunomodulatory effects. This study examined the expression of opioid receptors on peripheral white blood cells in rats with acute cholestasis after bile duct resection (BDR). Methods Five days after surgery, white blood cells were isolated from peripheral blood. To determine total opioid binding, cells from either BDR or sham-resected rats were incubated with a fluorescently labeled opioid receptor antagonist. Specific opioid binding was determined by preincubating the cells with a 100-fold molar excess of unlabeled naltrexone or with one of two opioid receptor agonists: ( d -Ala 2 , d -Leu 5 )-enkephalin (δ receptor) or ( d -Ala 2 , MePhe 4 , Gly-ol 5 )enkephalin (μ receptor). The proportion of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes with specific δ or μ opioid receptors was determined by flow cytometric analysis. Results Opioid receptors on neutrophils were unaffected by BDR, whereas the lymphocyte population of BDR rats had an increased binding to δ receptors (2.6% ± 1.1% for sham vs. 7.3% ± 1.4% for BDR; P < 0.02) and monocytes from BDR rats had an increased binding to μ receptors (7.7% ± 0.9% for sham vs. 17.9% ± 2.3% for BDR; P < 0.0001). Conclusions The selective increase of δ-receptor binding on lymphocytes and μ-receptor binding on monocytes suggests that, in acute cholestasis, opioid-mediated effects on white blood cell function may be altered.
Gastroenterology – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 1995
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