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Endorphins: profound behavioral effects in rats suggest new etiological factors in mental illness

Endorphins: profound behavioral effects in rats suggest new etiological factors in mental illness

Science 194(4265): 630-632

The endogenous morphinomimetic brain peptides Met5-enkephalin and .alpha.-, .beta.- and .gamma.-endorphins were evaluated in rats after intracerebrospinal fluid injection. .beta.-Endorphin produces marked, prolonged muscular rigidity and immobility similar to a catatonic state, counteracted by the opiate antagonist naloxone; this effect occurs at molar doses 1/100-1/400 that at which the other peptides or morphine block the response to painful stimuli. All peptides evoked dose-related, naloxone-reversible, wet-dog shakes in rats that had not been exposed to drugs. .beta.-Endorphin produced hypothermia, whereas .gamma.-endorphin produced hyperthermia. Such potent and divergent responses to naturally occurring substances suggested that alterations in their homeostatic regulation could have etiological significance in human mental illness.

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Accession: 005359067

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 185694

DOI: 10.1126/science.185694

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