Several studies have described changes in beta-endorphin-like immunoreactivity (beta-ELI) in the rat brain in response to pain and stress stimuli. In order to ascertain the components of beta-ELI, brain samples of rats experiencing acute prolonged (tonic) pain were evaluated for their beta-ELI and later submitted to a chromatographic purification allowing the measurement of beta-endorphin (beta-EP) and acetyl beta-EP. The chromatographic analysis of both ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and periaqueductal grey (PAG) homogenates indicates that beta-ELI is distributed in several fractions including shortened forms of beta-EP and their respective acetylated compounds. Quantitatively, while beta-ELI in formalin-injected animals was increased by 48\% in VMH and 45\% in PAG in respect to controls, the net increase of purified beta-EP was 1100\% and 470\%, respectively, for VMH and PAG. Moreover, the maximal increase of beta-ELI was evident at 120 min, in both tissues. In contrast, the beta-EP peak was reached at 30 min in VMH and at 60 min in PAG. Acetyl beta-EP was unchanged by treatment in both central areas. No correlation of beta-ELI and beta-EP was found in VMH. These data demonstrate that the evaluation of beta-ELI gives a poor estimate of beta-EP changes, due to several components of the endorphin family.
Central changes of beta-endorphin-like immunoreactivity during rat tonic pain differ from those of purified beta-endorphin / Facchinetti, Fabio; Tassinari, G.; Porro, Carlo Adolfo; Galetti, A.; Genazzani, Andrea Riccardo. - In: PAIN. - ISSN 0304-3959. - STAMPA. - 49:(1992), pp. 113-116. [10.1016/0304-3959(92)90196-I]