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Researchers discover how opiates cause immunosuppression

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 30 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:280
  1. Abi Berger
  1. BMJ

    Opiate drugs are potent painkillers and are also used recreationally. Opiates are known to suppress the immune system, and immunologists at the Jerome H Holland Laboratory for Biomedical Sciences at the American Red Cross in Maryland have discovered how this immune suppression comes about (Nature 1999;397:218).

    Yufang Shi and colleagues have been studying the role of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in the regulation of the immune system. One mechanism known to trigger apoptosis in lymphocytes involves a protein receptor called …

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