NYMC Faculty Publications

Title

Modulation of Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity Responses in Hairless Guinea Pigs by Peptides Derived From Enkephalin

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2004

Department

Microbiology and Immunology

Abstract

Although opioid peptides such as methionine (met)-enkephalin have been previously shown to enhance or suppress immune responses, few studies in animal models have addressed the immunomodulatory activity of their metabolic derivatives. Hairless (IAF/HA-HO) guinea pigs immunized with Freund's complete adjuvant containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis and repeatedly skin tested with purified protein derivative of tuberculin (PPD) display high levels of stable delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) to PPD. Met-enkephalin (YGGFM) and two of its metabolites (YGG, YG) enhanced and accelerated PPD-elicited DTH inflammatory reactions when injected together with elicitor in these animals. At 24 h, 5 x 10(-3) pmol met-enkephalin significantly enhanced DTH responses by 30% over PPD alone, while 5 x 10(-5) pmol of YGG and 5 x 10(-9) pmol of YG significantly enhanced these responses by 62 and 32%, respectively. At much higher doses (5 x 10(3) pmol), met-enkephalin and its metabolites significantly suppressed DTH reactions by 25-32%. Tyrosine and glycine had no effect on PPD-elicited DTH. All DTH reactions (control, enhanced, suppressed) displayed typical perivascular mononuclear cell infiltrates. We conclude that the immunoactivity of met-enkephalin resides in its first two amino acids and suggest that cleavage of enkephalin molecules to YG occurs in serum and/or on the cell surface.

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