Abstract

Benzodiazepines, which are widely prescribed for their antianxiety effects, are shown to be potent stimulators of human monocyte chemotaxis. The chemotactic effects of benzodiazepine receptor agonists were blocked by the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor antagonist PK-11195, suggesting that these effects are mediated by the peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor. Diazepam was also active in inducing chemotaxis. Binding studies on purified monocytes revealed high-affinity peripheral benzodiazepine receptors, and the displacement potencies of various benzodiazepines correlated with their relative potencies in mediating chemotaxis. The demonstration of functional benzodiazepine receptors on human monocytes, together with recent evidence of receptor-mediated monocyte chemotaxis by other psychoactive peptides (such as opiate peptides), suggests a biochemical substrate for psychosomatic communication.