Morphine modulates γδ lymphocytes cytolytic activity following BCG vaccination

Michael R Olin, Keum Hwa Choi, Jinhee Lee, Phillip K. Peterson, Thomas W Molitor

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10 Scopus citations


Chronic opioid administration modulates lymphocytes' functional capabilities increasing susceptibility to infectious diseases. Bacille-Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination initiates a non-specific and specific cell-mediated immunity orchestrated by T lymphocytes including γδ T lymphocytes. γδ T lymphocytes increase in natural killer and antigen-directed cytolytic response following BCG vaccination. The objective of this study was to determine morphine effects on γδ T lymphocytes' cytolytic activity. Pigs were chronically administered morphine and subsequently vaccinated with Mycobacterium bovis BCG. By administering morphine prior to BCG vaccination, natural killer response was significantly suppressed (p = .034). Furthermore, innate cytolytic response against M. bovis-infected monocytes (p = .002) as well as antigen specific cytolytic functions (p = .04) were significantly altered due to morphine administration. It was concluded that administering morphine prior to BCG vaccination significantly altered γδ T lymphocyte cytolytic responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks to Dr. Jack Risdahl for the donation of the animals used in this study. Michael Olin was supported by National Institute of Health, National Research Service Award T32 DA07097 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This research was funded by the NIH (5R01DA08496).


  • Cytolytic activity
  • Mycobacteria bovis BCG
  • NK activity
  • Opioids
  • γδ T lymphocyte


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