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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1979 Dec;49(6):838-41.

Substantial rise of plasma beta-endorphin levels after insulin-induced hypoglycemia in human subjects.


To elucidate whether insulin-induced hypoglycemia enhances the release of beta-endorphin in man, plasma extracts obtained from healthy subjects and patients with Graves' disease before and 45 min after insulin injection were subjected to gel chromatography, and the fractions obtained were measured by RIA for beta-endorphin. In four healthy subjects, basal plasma beta-endorphin levels were less than 3 to 3.1 pg/ml, and the levels rose substantially to 47.5 +/- 12.4 pg/ml (mean +/- SE) 45 min after insulin injection. Basal plasma beta-endorphin levels in three hyperthyroid patinets (less than 3 to 3.8 pg/ml) did not seem to be different from those in healthy subjects; however, the rise after insulin injection tended to be higher in cases of hyperthyroidism, with a peak value of 68.5 +/- 9.7 pg/ml. Plasma beta-lipotropin and ACTH levels also rose in parallel with beta-endorphin in response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia in both healthy subjects and hyperthyroid patients. It would thus appear that beta-endorphin, like ACTH or beta-lipotropin, is released in human subjects by hypoglycemic stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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