β-Endorphin: pituitary and adrenal glands modulate its action

J. W. Holaday, P. Y. Law, L. F. Tseng, H. H. Loh, C. H. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hypophysectomized rats are supersensitive to the hypothermic effects of morphine and β-endorphin injected intraventricularly as early as 1 week after surgery. At 2 weeks after surgery, there is a significant increase in the antinociceptive potency for these opiates. The route of opiate injection must be considered in interpretations of these results. The enhanced opiate potency following subcutaneous morphine injection in hypophysectomized rats may be partially explained by adrenal dysfunction, as demonstrated by a similar sensitization to subcutaneous morphine following adrenalectomy. By contrast, no enhancement of opiate potency was observed upon direct intraventricular injection of morphine or β-endorphin in adrenalectomized rats. Furthermore, the potency of intravenous β-endorphin is profoundly enhanced in adrenalectomized mice; five out of nine animals died when injected with a dose of the peptide that produced only mild analgesia in sham controls. The complete reversal of this intravenous β-endorphin supersensitivity by dexamethasone implies a possible physiological interplay between the peptide and adrenal function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4628-4632
Number of pages5
JournalUnknown Journal
Volume74
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1977

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