Behavioral and biological effects of acute β-endorphin injection in schizophrenic and depressed patients

D. Pickar, G. C. Davis, S. C. Schulz, I. Extein, R. Wagner, D. Naber, P. W. Gold, D. P. van Kammen, F. K. Goodwin, R. J. Wyatt, C. H. Li, W. E. Bunney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this double-blind study, β-endorphin, 4-15 mg, was administered intravenously to 6 schizophrenic and 4 depressed patients. There were neither significant differences in behavioral ratings between β-endorphin and placebo for the overall group nor for either the schizophrenic or depressed subgroup. Clinical worsening and improvement were observed in individual schizophrenic patients. There was no evidence of late-appearing therapeutic effects in 4 schizophrenic patients rated for 5 consecutive days after placebo and drug infusions. In 1 patient 10 mg of β-endorphin produced neuroendocrine effects comparable to those produced by 5 mg of intravenously administered methadone; in 2 other patients it produced large increases in circulating opioid activity as determined by radioreceptor assay. These biological data support the notion that parenterally administered β-endorphin exerts significant opiate-like activity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume138
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Pickar, D., Davis, G. C., Schulz, S. C., Extein, I., Wagner, R., Naber, D., Gold, P. W., van Kammen, D. P., Goodwin, F. K., Wyatt, R. J., Li, C. H., & Bunney, W. E. (1981). Behavioral and biological effects of acute β-endorphin injection in schizophrenic and depressed patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, 138(2), 160-169.