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Endorphins and parturition

Endorphins and parturition

Obstetrics and Gynecology 65(5): 647-651

Endorphins and beta-lipotropin have been implicated as the modulators of pain during the labor process. To investigate their possible role during parturition, the present study was undertaken to determine the levels of beta-endorphin, beta-endorphinlike immunoactivity, and beta-lipotropin during labor and delivery. Fourteen patients were evaluated at 4 cm dilatation, complete dilatation, at the time of delivery, and immediately postpartum. In addition, samples were obtained from nine nonpregnant control subjects. The venous levels of beta-endorphinlike immunoactivity and beta-lipotropin were determined, and the beta-endorphin level was calculated. The maternal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels and the newborn umbilical venous level also were determined in the delivery room. A gradual rise was noted in the beta-endorphin, beta-lipotropin, and beta-endorphinlike immunoactivity values up to the time of delivery. There was noted to be a modest decrease in their levels in the immediate postpartum period. These levels were significantly elevated over control samples for both beta-endorphinlike immunoactivity and beta-lipotropin (P less than .05). Values for beta-endorphin were not significantly different from control levels. In addition, maternal CSF levels were found to show modest elevations above the simultaneously drawn venous specimens. The umbilical cord venous samples drawn at delivery were also higher than the simultaneous maternal venous levels. These values, although elevated over control values, were not statistically different from simultaneously drawn maternal venous levels.

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Accession: 005359039

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PMID: 3157077

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