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Plasma beta endorphin in cirrhosis and renal failure.
  1. J R Thornton,
  2. M S Losowsky
  1. Department of Medicine, St James's University Hospital, Leeds.

    Abstract

    Whether the plasma concentration of beta endorphin was increased in hepatic cirrhosis like that of smaller opioid peptides methionine enkephalin and leucine enkephalin was determined. Its concentration in chronic renal failure was also measured. Plasma beta endorphin was not significantly raised in cirrhotic patients with or without ascites (medians 5.2 pmol/l and 4.7 pmol/l respectively) compared with disease control subjects (4.9 pmol/l) and healthy control subjects (4.9 pmol/l). In contrast, the peptide was increased 2.5 fold (p less than 0.001) in chronic renal failure (12.4 pmol/l) and was found in many of these patients' urine. The data are compatible with the hypothesis that the liver may play an important role in the elimination of opioid peptides of octapeptide size or less but not the larger peptides such as beta endorphin.

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