The aim of this study was to investigate further the influence of dermorphin (D), a new potent opioid peptide (H-Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-Gly-Tyr-Pro-Ser-NH2), on the functional activity of the pituitary-adrenocortical system in man. Six normal men were treated with oral metyrapone to stimulate the secretion of ACTH, beta-lipotropin, and beta-endorphin. In these subjects, significant suppression of metyrapone-evoked release of ACTH and related peptides occurred during D infusion (5.5 micrograms/kg X min for 30 min) compared with that during saline infusion. These results indicate that D can induce a significant decline in plasma levels of ACTH, beta-lipotropin, and beta-endorphin, the major circulating peptides from the C-terminal part of proopiocortin, and suggest that opioid peptides may be involved in the control of the functional activity of pituitary-adrenocortical activity in man.
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