Beta-endorphin and the endocrine pancreas. Studies in healthy and diabetic human beings

M. Feldman, R. S. Kiser, Roger H Unger, C. H. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

106 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Beta-endorphin is present in the endocrine pancreas, suggesting that endorphins may have a role in islet-cell function. To evaluate this possibility, we infused synthetic human beta-endorphin intravenously in healthy volunteers and in insulin-dependent diabetic patients. In both groups, beta-endorphin increased plasma glucagon concentrations, and this rise was accompanied by a significant increase in plasma glucose concentrations. In nondiabetic subjects, beta-endorphin also increased plasma insulin concentrations. The threshold dose of beta-endorphin for producing increased plasma concentrations of glucose and glucagon was 0.005 mg - a dose that acutely increased plasma concentrations of beta-endorphin by approximately 40-fold. Glucose, glucagon, and insulin responses to beta-endorphin could not be blocked by intravenous naloxone. These studies suggest that endorphins may be involved in glucoregulation, that their hyperglycemic action is mediated at least in part by glucagon, and that the effect of beta-endorphin on islet-cell function is relatively resistant to naloxone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-353
Number of pages5
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume308
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1983

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beta-Endorphin
Islets of Langerhans
Glucagon
Endorphins
Insulin
Naloxone
Glucose
Healthy Volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Beta-endorphin and the endocrine pancreas. Studies in healthy and diabetic human beings. / Feldman, M.; Kiser, R. S.; Unger, Roger H; Li, C. H.

In: New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 308, No. 7, 1983, p. 349-353.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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