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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Jan 2023 - 3 Feb 2023

2023 Jan 19

Biochem Pharmacol

Immunosuppression by opioids: mechanisms of action on innate and adaptive immunity.


Sun Q, Li Z, Wang Z, Wang Q, Qin F, Pan H, Li W, Mu X, Wang Y, Jiang Y, Lu Z
Biochem Pharmacol. 2023 Jan 19:115417.
PMID: 36682388.


Opioids are excellent analgesics for the clinical treatment of various types of acute and chronic pain, particularly cancer-related pain. Nevertheless, it is well known that opioids have some nasty side effects, including immunosuppression, which is commonly overlooked. As a result, the incidence of opportunistic bacterial and viral infections increases in patients with long-term opioid use. Nowadays, there are no effective medications to alleviate opioid-induced immunosuppression. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanism of opioids in immunosuppression can enable researchers to devise effective therapeutic interventions. This review comprehensively summarized the exogenous opioids-induced immunosuppressive effects and their underlying mechanisms, the regulatory roles of endogenous opioids on the immune system, the potential link between opioid immunosuppressive effect and the function of the central nervous system (CNS), and the future perspectives in this field.