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XJTU research enlightens opioid addiction treatment

February 04, 2023
  L M S

A research on opioid addiction conducted by Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) has attracted a wide range of attention of top international journals such as Cell and Nature Reviews Immunology.

Zhu Yongsheng and Yan Peng of the university's School of Forensic Medicine published a paper entitled "Opioid-induced fragile-like regulatory T cells contribute to withdrawal" in Cell, which led to subsequent reviews.

Cell believes that drug addiction was initially attributed to a lack of self-control. However, as the study progressed, scientists re-defined it as a chronic recurrent encephalopathy. Opioids cause immunosuppression, but recent studies have shown that they also cause immune activation.

Therefore, it is of significance to evaluate the interactive effect of opioids on the central nervous system and peripheral immune system from the perspective of neuro-immunity, which helps us understand the mechanism of opioid addiction and devise treatment strategies.

Nature Reviews Immunology suggests that there is so far no effective treatment for opioid addiction. The study highlights that addiction treatment should not be limited to brain research. It proposes the possibility of targeting central nervous system dysfunction through distal immunotherapy and treating opioid addiction through immunologic intervention.