Influence of ethanol dependence on regional brain content of β-endorphin in the mouse

Charles W. Wilkinson, John C. Crabbe, L. Donald Keith, John W. Kendall, Daniel M. Dorsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


β-Endorphin-like immunoreactivity (BE-LI) was measured in 7 brain regions of Swiss-Webster mice after 24, 48 and 72 h of exposure to ethanol vapor following a priming injection of ethanol and daily injections of pyrazole HCl to inhibit ethanol metabolism. Control mice in identical chambers received pyrazole injections but breathed air only. Ethanol dependence was confirmed by scoring additional groups of mice for handling-induced convulsions during withdrawal after each exposure duration. Measurement of anterior and neurointermediate (NIL) pituitary BE-LI, α-MSH and ACTh and plasma corticosterone confirmed earlier results showing NIL depletion of all 3 peptides at 24 h and increased plasma corticosterone concentrations at 72 h in ethanol-exposed mice. In brain extracts from ethanol-dependent mice, BE-LI was significantly reduced in the hypothalamus and midbrain with the greatest reduction occurring at 24 h. In forebrain, cerebral cortex, septum and hippocampus, pyrazole treatment significantly reduced BE-LI relative to an unhandled control group, and ethanol exposure tended to reverse this effect. HPLC of hypothalamic extracts revealed no differences in proportions of molecular forms of β-endorphin-like peptides between 24 h control and ethanol-exposed groups. The predominant BE-LI peak in both groups co-eluted with opiate-active unmodified β-endorphin1-31. Ethanol dependence in mice is associated with regionally selective decreases in brain β-endorphin concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 16 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • adrenocorticotropin
  • brain
  • corticosterone
  • ethanol dependence
  • pituitary
  • withdrawal
  • α-melanotropin
  • β-endorphin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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