NK Cells

Natural killer cells along with the macrophages and neutrophils form the major part of the innate immunity. NK cell cells are able to attack and lyse targeted cells in a MHC class I-independent manner without prior exposure or priming. Cancer cells downregulating MHC class I serve as important targets in tumor suppression. Additionally, NK cells aid in inflammation through the secretion of gamma interferon in response to IL-12 and TNF-a. Both chronic and acute administration of morphine affects NK cytotoxicity or cytokine secretion, indirectly rather than through opioid receptors present on the cells.

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