Comparison of stimulating effect on subpopulations of lymphocytes in human peripheral blood by methionine enkephalin with IL-2 and IFN-γ

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Aug;8(8):1082-9. doi: 10.4161/hv.20759. Epub 2012 Aug 1.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of mechanisms of methionine enkephalin (MENK) on lymphocytes in human peripheral blood. We detected CD4+T cells, CD8+T cells, CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg), dendritic cells (DCs), natural killer cells (NK), NKT cells and γδT cells before and after treatment with 10 (-12) M MENK, in cell culture by FCM and RT-PCR. Our findings show that MENK stimulating expansion of lymphocyte subpopulationns by inhibiting CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg), which is unique discovery of our study. We may use MENK as a drug to treat cancer patients, whose immune systems are damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enkephalin, Methionine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / metabolism*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Male
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Young Adult


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interleukin-2
  • Enkephalin, Methionine
  • Interferon-gamma