Effect of intrathecal morphine and electro-acupuncture on cellular immune function of rats and increment of mu-opioid receptor mRNA expression in PAG following intrathecal morphine.

Abstract

The present study was to investigate the dynamic changes of cellular immune function of rats with intrathecal injection of (ith) morphine and the regulatory effect of electroacupuncture(EA) stimulation on "Zusanli" (St.36) and "Lanwei" (Extra 37) points. The results showed that ConA-induced rat spleen lymphocyte proliferation was significantly decreased on 2h, 4h, 8h, 12h, 24h, 48h after ith morphine(40microg/50microL). The proliferative response was recovered to nearly normal on 72h. EA on corresponding periods could prevent the decrease of lymphocyte proliferative response of rats induced by ith morphine. The same tendency was observed on the induction of IL-2 production. Further study continued to explore the mechanism of the potentiating effect of mu-opioid receptor in periaqueductal gray (PAG) and hippocampus on the immunosuppression induced by ith morphine at molecular level with in situ hybridization histochemistry technique. The results showed that ith morphine could increase the expression of mu-opioid receptor mRNA.

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