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Homeostasis is critically dependent on communication between the immune, endocrine and nervous systems, and also the opioid system. Opioids can affect immune processes directly through the activation of opioid receptors on leukocytes or indirectly through the stimulation of the corticosteroid and catecholamine release. Leukocytes can also synthesize and release opioid peptides, which act as analgesic factors during inflammatory process. Many data indicate that opioids are also immunomodulators, and can affect leukocyte migration, killing activity and apoptosis. The comparative studies of invertebrates and vertebrates indicate that the opioid system is strongly conserved. Moreover, it has been proposed that opioids arose as antibacterial and immunomodulatory peptides and that the analgesic properties were developed later in evolution, when the nervous system become more complicated and the pain appeared to be an alerting process. The present work is a review of the papers concerning the connection between opioids and innate immunity, in particular inflammatory reactions.
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The Editorial Board
Andrzej Łukaszyk - przewodniczący, Zofia Bielańska-Osuchowska, Szczepan Biliński, Mieczysław Chorąży, Aleksander Koj, Włodzimierz Korochoda, Leszek Kuźnicki, Aleksandra Stojałowska, Lech Wojtczak

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