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February 1983

Plasma Immunoreactive β-Endorphin Levels in Depression: Effect of Electroconvulsive Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, New York Hospital—Cornell Medical Center, Westchester Division, White Plains (Drs Alexopoulos and Frances and Ms Haycox); the Department of Pharmacology, New York Hospital—Cornell University Medical College (Dr Inturrisi and Mr Lipman); the Department of Neurology, St Mary's Medical Center—University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Dr Dougherty); and the Laboratoire de Physiologie, Nerveuse, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Gif-sur-Yvette, France (Dr Rossier).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(2):181-183. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790020079007

• Immunoreactive (ir) plasma β-endorphin level was assayed in ten symptomatic patients with a unipolar major depressive disorder and in 16 psychiatrically normal controls matched for age and sex. Plasma ir-β-endorphin level in depressed patients was similar to that in controls. All depressed patients had a transient, approximately threefold increase in ir-β-endorphin after each use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The increase of plasma ir-β-endorphin level after ECT parallels the transient elevation of adrenocorticotropic hormone-level reported by others and probably reflects a hypothalamic response to ECT.

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