Peripheral plasma levels of beta-endorphin in alcoholics and highly trained athletes and the relationship to a measure of central opioid tone

Hormone and Metabolic Research = Hormon- Und Stoffwechselforschung = Hormones Et Métabolisme
W J InderR A Donald


Human beta-endorphin-like immunoactivity was measured in highly trained athletes (n = 10), alcoholics in the early phase of abstinence (n=9) and normal controls (n=15) using the Nichols Allegro immunoradiometric assay. The assay was examined for cross reactivity against related peptides, beta-lipotropin and human N-acetyl beta-endorphin. Venous blood sampling was carried out in the morning at 0900 and 1100 hours in a fasting state. Using two-way analysis of variance there was a significant effect of subject group on beta-endorphin concentration (p=0.029). Post-hoc analysis using the Bonferroni t-test showed that the source of the difference was the alcoholic group having significantly lower beta-endorphin immunoreactivity (p < 0.05). There was no difference between the controls and the athletes. There was a positive correlation between plasma beta-endorphin level at 1100 hours and the subsequent ACTH incremental response to naloxone in the group as a whole (r=0.48, p=0.004). The assay showed 100% cross reactivity with beta-lipotropin and 73% cross reactivity with N-acetyl-beta-endorphin. We conclude that alcoholics have reduced levels of beta-endorphin-like immunoactivity. While beta-endorphin is known not to cross the blood-br...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Alcohol Abuse
Naloxone, (5 beta,9 alpha,13 alpha,14 alpha)-Isomer
Narcotic Antagonists
Immunoradiometric Assays
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