Vol 61, No 1 (2010)
Original paper
Published online: 2010-03-04

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Mean daily plasma concentrations of β-endorphin, leu-enkephalin, ACTH, cortisol, and DHEAS in epileptic patients with complex partial seizures evolving to generalized tonic-clonic seizures

Bogdan Marek, Dariusz Kajdaniuk, Beata Kos-Kudła, Janusz Kapustecki, Elżbieta Świętochowska, Zofia Ostrowska, Lucyna Siemińska, Mariusz Nowak, Joanna Głogowska-Szeląg, Halina Borgiel-Marek, Nelly Ciesielska-Kopacz, Wanda Foltyn, Krystyna Pierzchała, Robert Krysiak, Radosław Bienek
Endokrynol Pol 2010;61(1):103-110.

Abstract


Introduction: A multitude of mechanisms have been implicated in the pathophysiology of epilepsy. Objective: To assess mean daily plasma concentrations of ACTH, cortisol, DHEAS, leu-enkephalin, and beta-endorphin in epileptic patients with complex partial seizures evolving to tonic-clonic in relation to frequency of seizure occurrence (groups with seizure occurrences - several per week and several per year) and duration of the disease (groups less than and more than 10 years). We decided to analyse mean daily values of beta-endorphin and leu-enkephalin because of significant differences in concentrations of these substances in blood during the day.
Material and methods: The study was performed on 17 patients (14 males + 3 females; mean age 31.8 yrs) treated with carbamazepine (300-1800 mg/day). The control group consisted of six age-matched healthy volunteers. Blood was collected at 8 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m., and 2 a.m. Intergroup analysis was performed with the use of ANOVA Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results: Mean daily concentrations of ACTH and cortisol in the blood of the patients with epilepsy were higher in comparison with those of the healthy volunteers, independently of the frequency of seizures and duration of the disease. Mean daily concentrations of beta-endorphin in the blood of the patients with epilepsy were higher in the groups of patients with more severe clinical course of disease (with more frequently occurring epilepsy seizures and longer duration of the disease) in comparison with healthy subjects. Mean daily concentrations of leu-enkephalin in the blood of the patients with epilepsy were higher in the group of patients with short duration of the disease in comparison with the group with long duration of the disease.
Conclusions:
1. Pituitary-adrenal axis hyperactivity is observed in patients with clinically active epilepsy, independently of the frequency of seizures and duration of the disease.
2. Changes in endogenous opioid system activity are related to the clinical activity of epilepsy - beta-endorphin concentrations are connected with frequency of seizures and duration of the disease and leu-enkephalin concentrations with duration of the disease.
3. Endogenous opioid peptides might take part in the neurochemical mechanism of human epilepsy.
(Pol J Endocrinol 2010; 61 (1): 103-110)

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