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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of p38 mitogen- activated protein kinase phosphorylation and Fas-Fas ligand interaction in morphine-induced macrophage apoptosis.

In this study, we evaluated the molecular mechanisms involved in morphine-induced macrophage apoptosis. Both morphine and TGF-beta promoted P38 mitogen- activated protein kinase ( MAPK) phosphorylation, and this phosphorylation was inhibited by SB 202190 as well as by SB 203580. Anti-TGF-beta Ab as well as naltrexone (an opiate receptor antagonist) inhibited morphine-induced macrophage P38 MAPK phosphorylation. Anti-TGF-beta Ab also attenuated morphine-induced p53 as well as inducible NO synthase expression; in contrast, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, an inhibitor of NO synthase, inhibited morphine-induced P38 MAPK phosphorylation and Bax expression. Morphine also enhanced the expression of both Fas and Fas ligand (FasL), whereas anti-FasL Ab prevented morphine-induced macrophage apoptosis. Moreover, naltrexone inhibited morphine-induced FasL expression. In addition, macrophages either deficient in FasL or lacking p53 showed resistance to the effect of morphine. Inhibitors of both caspase-8 and caspase-9 partially prevented the apoptotic effect of morphine on macrophages. In addition, caspase-3 inhibitor prevented morphine-induced macrophage apoptosis. These findings suggest that morphine-induced macrophage apoptosis proceeds through opiate receptors via P38 MAPK phosphorylation. Both TGF-beta and inducible NO synthase play an important role in morphine-induced downstream signaling, which seems to activate proteins involved in both extrinsic (Fas and FasL) and intrinsic (p53 and Bax) cell death pathways.[1]


  1. Role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation and Fas-Fas ligand interaction in morphine-induced macrophage apoptosis. Singhal, P.C., Bhaskaran, M., Patel, J., Patel, K., Kasinath, B.S., Duraisamy, S., Franki, N., Reddy, K., Kapasi, A.A. J. Immunol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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