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J Perinat Med. 1996;24(4):363-72.

Beta-endorphin immunoreactivity levels in CSF after laryngeal chemoreflex activation correlate with apnoea duration in piglets.

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Department of Paediatric Research, National Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The activation of the laryngeal chemoreflex may be a pathogenic mechanism in apnoea, apparent life threatening events, and SIDS. Infants with apnoea and increased levels of beta-endorphin immunoreactivity in CSF have been successfully treated with naloxone. Beta-endorphin may induce respiratory depression, and naloxone is a beta-endorphin antagonist. We therefore wanted to measure beta-endorphin levels in CSF before and after the chemoreflex induced apnoea. This study includes 13 piglets, 5-10 days of age, treated with and without naloxone. Respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate were monitored. CSF was sampled before and after the laryngeal chemoreflex induced apnoea. We found a shorter duration of apnoea in the piglets which had received naloxone than in those which did not (p = 0.02). The beta-endorphin immunoreactivity levels in CSF increased after apnoea, and the increased levels correlated positively with the duration of the apnoea in the piglets which had not received naloxone (r = 0.94, p = 0.02), but not in those pretreated with naloxone (r = 0.1, p = 0.8). The median amount of beta-endorphin immunoreactivity in CSF after apnoea in the naloxone-treated piglets was not significantly different from that in the non-treated piglets: 615 +/- 589 (n = 7) fmol/ml CSF and 984 +/- 851 (n = 6) fmol/ml CSF, respectively. The beta-endorphin immunoreactivity levels measured before the apnoea were less than 4.3 fmol/ml CSF.


The laryngeal chemoreflex induced apnoea may possible be partly mediated by beta-endorphin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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