Beta-endorphin and glucose metabolism in the elderly

D. Giugliano, G. Paolisso, A. Ceriello, R. Varano, R. Torella, M. Varricchio, F. D'Onofrio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate the metabolic and hormonal effects of beta-endorphin in the elderly, 7 aged and 8 young subjects of both sexes, in apparent good health and with normal carbohydrate metabolism, were submitted on two different days and in random order to an infusion of synthetic human beta-endorphin (0.5 mg/hr) or saline. Intravenous infusion of the peptide in the aged subjects produced a significant rise in plasma glucose and glucagon concentrations to a greater extent than in the younger subjects. The lack of insulin increase in response to the peptide infusion, despite the accompanying hyperglycemia and hyperglucagonemia suggests a relative inhibition of insulin release which is confirmed by the results of the intravenous glucose test: the acute insulin response to the glucose challenge is significantly reduced by beta-endorphin. In conclusion, the hyperglycemia elicited by beta-endorphin in the elderly is a consequence of both glucagon increase and parallel inhibition of insulin release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-268
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • beta-endorphin
  • elderly
  • glucagon
  • glucose
  • insulin
  • intravenous glucose test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)


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