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June 1980

β-Endorphin and Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Calif (Drs Berger, Elliott, Pfefferbaum, Davis, and Barchas); the Mental Health Research Institute and Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Drs Watson and Akil); the Department of Psychiatry, Harbor/UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif (Dr Rubin); and the Hormone Research Laboratory, University of California at San Francisco (Dr Li).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(6):635-640. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780190033003

• To study the effects of β-endorphin in chronic schizophrenia, nine male patients participated in a double-blind crossover comparison of a single intravenous 20-mg injection of β-endorphin and saline. Bolus injection of β-endorphin from an albumincoated syringe produced markedly higher plasma concentrations than did slow intravenous infusion from a non$albumincoated syringe. β-endorphin intravenously injected in nine patients produced a statistically significant increase in serum prolactin levels. In one patient, both 10 mg of morphine sulfate and 20 mg of β-endorphin produced similar increases in the alpha power of the EEG. In eight patients, β-endorphin administration was associated with a statistically significant but not clinically obvious improvement in schizophrenic symptoms.