This study was aimed at determining whether the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBZDR), which is abundantly expressed on mononuclear phagocytes, is involved in host defense mechanisms depending on phagocyte membrane-associated NADPH-oxidase complex. Analysis by reversible and covalent binding of PBZDR expression on human neutrophils shows that it is modulated during NADPH-oxidase activation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. Based on a series of 17 patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), results show that PBZDR expression is dramatically impaired in X-linked CGD, an inherited disorder due to a mutation on the gene coding for cytochrome b558 NADPH- oxidase component, whereas it is unaffected in autosomal recessive CGD where cytochrome b558 is normally expressed, suggesting a link between PBZDR and cytochrome b558 expressions. PBZDR can be assigned by covalent binding to an 18-Kd membrane protein. These results suggest that the neutrophil PBZDR, which can accommodate the widely prescribed anxiolytic drug Valium (diazepam), is involved in host defense against pathogens, a function that could be affected by neuroimmune interactions.

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