Functional role and sequence analysis of a lymphocyte orphan opioid receptor

J Neuroimmunol. 1995 Jun;59(1-2):91-101. doi: 10.1016/0165-5728(95)00030-6.


Pharmacological evidence indicates that lymphocytes express opioid receptors, but this finding has been questioned. By DNA sequencing of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction products, we have found that mouse lymphocytes express mRNA encoding an orphan opioid receptor. These mRNA transcripts were detected in the CD4+, CD8+, and CD4- CD8- lymphocyte subpopulations. Northern blot analysis confirmed that splenic lymphocytes express a 1.5-kb orphan opioid receptor mRNA. Fifteen bases encoding Tyr71-Arg75 in the first intracellular loop are alternatively spliced, suggesting that orphan opioid receptor mRNA encodes two receptor subtypes. Treatment of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated lymphocytes with orphan opioid receptor antisense oligonucleotides suppressed polyclonal IgG and IgM production by 50%. Our results provide direct evidence that lymphocytes express an opioid-like receptor gene, and suggest that this receptor plays a functional role in immunocompetence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • DNA, Complementary / chemistry
  • Lymphocytes / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Receptors, Opioid / chemistry
  • Receptors, Opioid / genetics*
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Opioid

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U14165