Stimulation of human periaqueductal gray for pain relief increases immunoreactive beta-endorphin in ventricular fluid

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Science  19 Jan 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4377, pp. 279-281
DOI: 10.1126/science.83674


Immunoreactive beta-endorphin was measured in the ventricular fluid of six patients with chronic pain. Stimulation of the periaqueductal gray matter in three patients with pain of peripheral origin resulted in significant increases (50 to 300 percent) in the concentration of ventricular immunoreactive beta-endorphin. In three other patients suffering deafferentation dysesthesia, stimulation of the posterior limb of the internal capsule did not alter the concentration of this peptide. These results provide evidence of the release of human immunoreactive beta-endorphin in vivo and suggest that naloxone-reversible pain relief achieved by stimulation of the periaqueductal gray matter may be in part mediated by the activation of beta-endorphin-rich diencephalic areas.