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β-Endorphin-Induced Changes in Schizophrenic and Depressed Patients

Nathan S. Kline, MD; Choh Hao Li, PhD; Heinz E. Lehmann, MD; Abel Lajtha, PhD; Edward Laski, MD, PhD; Thomas Cooper, MA
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(9):1111-1113. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770210125012.
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Recent and exciting research in animals has described endogenous polypeptides, endorphins, which in many biological respects resemble opiate agonists.1-3 While behavioral effects in animals are under intense investigation, the effects of the pure endorphins in man require specific testing. The effect of opiate antagonists in schizophrenic patients4 are in some dispute, but a recent doubleblind study revealed no effects.5 Thus, direct measures of injected endorphins are relevant to understanding their effects in man. Accordingly, when the opportunity presented itself, it seemed logical to evaluate synthetic β-endorphin in schizophrenic and depressed patients, and this preliminary report describes our initial observations. Thirty milligrams of synthetic material was prepared by one of us (C. H. L.) and made available for this purpose; subsequently, a second batch was used.6

SUBJECTS AND METHODS Laboratory Procedures  Preliminary experiments were carried out to determine whether or not morphine-like substances in blood could


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