Delta opioid receptor-mediated immunoregulatory role of methionine-enkephalin in freshwater teleostChanna punctatus(Bloch.)

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The immunoregulatory role of methionine-enkephalin (Met-enk) is well studied in mammals, but has not been explored in ectotherms despite the fact that this peptide is highly conserved in vertebrates. The present study demonstrates the diverse effects of Met-enk depending on its concentration and specific function of splenic phagocytes in the freshwater fish Channa punctatus. Although Met-enk increased both phagocytic as well as respiratory burst activity, the concentration-related response was opposite to each other. It had the maximum stimulatory effect on phagocytosis at 10−9 M, while the same concentration was least effective in increasing superoxide production. Similarly, Met-enk at concentrations lower or higher than 10−9 M was either ineffective or less effective in case of phagocytosis, while highly effective in stimulating superoxide production. On the other hand, concentration-independent inhibitory effect of Met-enk was observed in case of nitrite production. Nonetheless, Met-enk regulated all the functions of phagocyte through opioid receptors since non-specific opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone completely blocked the effect of Met-enk on phagocytosis, superoxide and nitrite production by splenic phagocytes of C. punctatus. Among selective opioid receptor antagonists, δ-opioid receptor antagonist naltrindole completely antagonized the effect of Met-enk on phagocytosis, superoxide and nitrite production, while μ- and κ-opioid receptor antagonist, CTAP and norbinaltorphimine, respectively, were ineffective in influencing any of the functions. This suggests that Met-enk modulates splenic phagocyte functions in the fish C. punctatus via δ-opioid receptor. This is further substantiated by using highly selective δ-opioid receptor agonist, SNC80.

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