In order to evaluate the secretion of beta-endorphin in obese children and adolescents, we measured plasma beta-endorphin, ACTH and cortisol levels before and following administration of CRH (1 microgram/kg). Fourteen normal weight and 22 obese subjects (weight excess ranging from 30 to 98%) were studied. Plasma hormone levels were measured by radioimmunoassay directly in plasma (cortisol, ACTH) and after silicic acid extraction and Sephadex G-75 column chromatography (beta-endorphin). Basal beta-endorphin levels in obese children were significantly higher than in controls (14.7 +/- 1.8 vs 6.0 +/- 0.6 pmol/l; mean +/- SEM). No differences were found in basal ACTH and cortisol levels. CRH administration significantly increased beta-endorphin, ACTH and cortisol levels in normal subjects and ACTH and cortisol levels in obese subjects. Plasma beta-endorphin levels in obese children and adolescents did not show any significant increment. These data confirm the higher than normal beta-endorphin plasma levels in obese subjects in childhood and demonstrate that CRH is unable to increase beta-endorphin levels, suggesting an impairment of the hypothalamo-pituitary control mechanisms or an extra-anterior pituitary source.
Impaired beta-endorphin response to human corticotropin-releasing hormone in obese children / S., Bernasconi; F., Petraglia; Iughetti, Lorenzo; C., Marcellini; A., Lamborghini; Facchinetti, Fabio; A. R., Genazzani. - In: ACTA ENDOCRINOLOGICA. - ISSN 0001-5598. - STAMPA. - 119:(1988), pp. 7-10.