Recent molecular evidence points to transient and/or stage-specific expression of δ- and κ-opioid receptors by thymic and peripheral T lymphocytes. Since medical treatments or stress commonly increase opioid levels, it is important to understand the mechanisms by which opioids affect T lymphocyte functions. We therefore created and studied a T cell line expressing the cloned δ-opioid receptor (DOR1). DOR1 ligation by a specific DOR1 agonist, deltorphin, augmented IL-2 secretion by synergizing with signals from TCR-CD3 and CD28. Reporter gene constructs were used to map this effect of deltorphin to the AP-1- and NF-AT/AP-1-binding sites of the IL-2 promoter. Although DOR1 signaling increased [Ca2+]i, deltorphin enhanced transcriptional activity of the NF-AT/AP-1-binding site via a mechanism independent of calcineurin and distinct from the effects of elevated [Ca2+]i. Deltorphin also increased accumulation of AP-1 transcription factor complexes, suggesting that DOR1 augments IL-2 secretion by increasing the AP-1 component of the NF-AT/AP-1 transcription factor. These results advance the molecular understanding of opioid effects on lymphocytes, and in addition, demonstrate regulation of IL-2 synthesis and secretion by the novel mechanism of receptor-mediated AP-1 induction.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1997|
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