Human leukocyte interferon (HuIFN-α): Potent endorphin-like opioid activity

Academic Article


  • Human leukocyte interferon, but not fibroblast or immune interferons, binds to opiate receptor in, vitro. When injected intracerebrally into mice, human leukocyte, but not fibroblast or immune interferon, caused potent endorphin-like opioid effects. These effects include analgesia, lack of spontaneous locomotion and catalepsy. All of these actions of human leukocyte interferon were preventable and reversible by the opiate antagonist naloxone. The findings suggest that some of the side effects of leukocyte interferon therapy may be mediated by opiate receptor binding. They also provide evidence for a regulatory circuit between the immune and neuroendocrine system. This putative circuit could be an etiologic site for certain psychopathological states. © 1981.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Blalock JE; Smith EM
  • Start Page

  • 472
  • End Page

  • 478
  • Volume

  • 101
  • Issue

  • 2