Minireview immunomodulation by cocaine - A neuroendocrine mediated response

Bernhard Watzl, Ronald R. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Cocaine acts directly on lymphoid cells and indirectly modulates the immune response by affecting the level of neuroendocrine hormones. In vitro, very high concentrations of cocaine inhibit different immune responses, while plasma levels following cocaine use have no effect. The results of the few published in vivo studies are contradictory, showing stimulatory, suppressive or no effect on lymphoid cells. The indirect effects of cocaine on the immune system could be mediated by ACTH, beta-endorphin and corticosterone. Anorectic effect associated with nutritional deficiencies of drug users could additionally affect the immune response by cocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1319-1329
Number of pages11
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Minireview immunomodulation by cocaine - A neuroendocrine mediated response'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this