Regulated expression of proenkephalin A in normal lymphocytes

H. Rosen, O. Behar, O. Abramsky, H. Ovadia

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The expression of proenkephalin A (PEA), a neuropeptide-encoding gene, was examined in normal rat lymphocytes. With the use of Northern blot hybridization analysis of total RNA, PEA mRNA was found in normal cells derived from spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow. Cell sorting of the two main fractions of B and T cells derived from the spleen revealed that PEA is expressed in normal B cells (sIg+). The expression of PEA mRNA was markedly enhanced after a short incubation (3 h) of cells with LPS or Salmonella typhimurium. This was not the case when these cells were incubated with Con A during the same period of time; whereas, in thymocytes the presence of PEA mRNA was exclusively dependent upon mitogenic stimulus (Con A) and could be detected after 24 h of in vitro incubation. Extracts of cells were also found to contain immune reactive enkephalins, indicating that the PEA mRNA is translated. These results support the concept that neuropeptides, such as enkephalins, have a role in the modulation of the immune response and may participate in the bidirectional communication between the nervous and immune systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3703-3707
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1989


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