β-Endorphin: Central sites of analgesia, catalepsy and body temperature changes in rats

L. F. Tseng, E. T. Wei, H. H. Loh, C. H. Li

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Abstract

β-Endorphin was microinjected into rat brain in order to localize central sites associated with some of its pharmacologic effects: namely, analgesia (inhibition of the tail-flick response), catalepsy and changes in body temperature. Microinjections (1 μl) were made bilaterally under halothane anesthesia and the effects of β-endorphin were repeatedly assessed at 15- or 30-min intervals for 2 hr. β-Endorphin produced analgesia and catalepsy when it was injected at low doses (ED50, 1.3 to 2.7 μg) into the medial preoptic area, nucleus accumbens, anterior hypothalamus and the periaqueductal gray-4th ventricular spaces. Brain areas of intermediate sensitivities (ED50, 3.7 to 16 μg) were the medial thalamus, posterior hypothalamus and areas around the fasciculus retroflexus. The frontal cortex, striatum and lateral areas of the brain were relatively insensitive (ED50 > 17 μg) to the effects of β-endorphin on analgesia and catalepsy. β-Endorphin had complex effects on body temperature. For example, when β-endorphin was injected into the nucleus accumbens or preoptic area, low doses (1.1 - 2.1 μg) produced hyperthermia; higher doses (8.5 μg) produced hypothermia. The brain regions in which low doses of β-endorphin elicit pharmacologic effects correspond to the anatomic areas in which the endogenous β-endorphin system is distributed. Similar correspondence to the endogenous enkephalin system was not obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-332
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume214
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

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