Abstract

The opiate-like peptide beta-endorphin and adrenocorticotropin are concomitantly secreted in increased amounts by the adenohypophysis in response to acute stress or long-term adrenalectomy as well as in vitro in response to purified corticotropin releasing factor and other secretagogues. Conversely, administration of the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone inhibits the secretion of both adrenocorticotropin and beta-endorphin. Thus, both hormones possess common and identical regulatory mechanisms and there may be a functional role for circulating beta-endorphin.