Centrally applied NPY mimics immunoactivation induced by non-analgesic doses of met-enkephalin

Stephan Von Hörsten*, Heike Nave, Jan Ballof, Fabian Helfritz, Dirk Meyer, Reinhold E. Schmidt, Michael Stalp, Natalie G. Exton, Michael S. Exton, Rainer H. Straub, Jelena Radulovic, Reinhard Pabst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and endogenous opioids (EOPs) such as methionine- enkephalin (Met-enk) regulate similar physiological responses, but it is not known whether nociceptive and immune responses also show analogy after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) application. Dose-response studies show that Met-enk stimulates the blood granulocyte and splenic natural killer (NK) cell function of Lewis rats at a low dose (102 ng/kg, i.c.v.), whereas a high dose (105 ng/kg) causes suppression of innate immune functions associated with analgesia in the hot-plate test. At 15 min, 1 h and 24 h after i.c.v, application, both Met-enk (102 ng/kg) and NPY (1 ng/kg) produced similar effects: An initial suppression of innate immune function was followed by a long lasting stimulatory action on cell functions and serum interleukin-6 (sIL-6) levels. Thus, central NPY application resembles Met-enk-induced immunostimulation at doses not affecting nociception, suggesting an involvement of both peptides in shaping stress-induced immunomodulation of the non-analgetic form, possibly via activation of a common immunomodulatory effector mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3881-3885
Number of pages5
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Endogenous opioids
  • Granulocyte chemiluminescence
  • Hot-plate test
  • Interleukin-6
  • Methionine-enkephalin
  • NK cell cytotoxicity
  • Neuroimmunomodulation
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Nociception
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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