The nervous and the immune systems can exchange information through opioid peptides. Furthermore, some opioid peptides can function as endogenous messengers of the immune system, and participate in an important part in the regulation of the various components of the immune response. Since the capacity of immunocytes to release and respond to opioid neuropeptide messengers is not restricted to mammalian organisms, recent studies have indicated that invertebrate models have been particularly useful to understand the mechanisms of the immune response. Moreover, the immunocytes of molluscs resemble cells of the vertebrate monocyte/macrophage lineage and are activated by similar substances, which control the main immune responses, i.e. phagocytosis, chemotaxis, and cytotoxicity. Recently, Mytilus edulis has been the subject of recent studies to determine whether the relationship between the immune and nervous systems seen in vertebrates also exists in invertebrates. The focus of this review is to describe how the opioid peptides participate in immune processes in molluscs.
Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.