IMMUNE EFFECTS OF BCM-7
While the immunomodulatory effects of morphine are generally well established, the potential immunomodulatory effects of β-casein and its cleaved opioid peptides were first identified in the 1980s.
Since then, it has become apparent that exorphins, including BCM-7, have immunomodulatory properties. For example, BCM-7 was reported to trigger histamine release from peripheral leukocytes and to have secretagogue effects on peritoneal mast cells.
For instance, BCM-7 has also been shown to induce a wheal and flare response when applied to the skin of children.
Studies have also shown that BCM-7 alters lymphocyte proliferation in vitro through a pathway mediated by opiate receptors. The first of these studies showed suppressive effects of BCM-7 on lymphocyte proliferation at all concentrations tested, while the second study showed suppressive effects of low BCM-7 doses and stimulatory effects at higher doses.
Clinically, BCM-7 may also stimulate excessive histamine release, resulting in activation of immune responses. Impaired immune function may also increase susceptibility to infection and other potentially severe diseases, as has been reported for morphine.
Additional studies are needed to establish the specific immunomodulatory effects of BCM-7 and related peptides, and to determine their clinical implications.
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