ABSTRACT Heroin is a well known opioid that causes al-terations to the immune system of a number of investigated animals. Only a few studies have explored the effect of heroin on the lymphocytes maturation. Thymocyte progenitors originate from haematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. The immature T-cells express neither CD4 nor CD8, and are therefore classed as double-negative (CD4-CD8-) cells. CD34 glycoprotein is the only defined marker of the immature T-lymphocytes. In this study we have investigated the changes induced in CD34+ rat thymocytes after heroin administration by immunofluores-cence in frozen rat thymus sections using the 4H11 monoclonal anti-CD34 antibody. There is a remarkable decrease in the number of CD34+ immature thymocytes when examined 1hour after last heroin injection and a small recover when examination took place 20 days after last injection. The above results suggest a major effect of heroin administration early in the ma- turation process of T lymphocytes probably by increasing the apoptotic cell death and the ne- gative consequences for the immune system responses.
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nullFotini, G. , Despina, P. , Evangelos, M. , Ourania, K. and Theodoros, K. (2010) Heroin-induced changes of CD34-positive rat thymus cells. Health, 2, 957-961. doi: 10.4236/health.2010.28142.
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