Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma concentrations of SRIH, beta-endorphin, CRH, NPY and GHRH in obese and normal weight subjects

A. Brunani, C. Invitti, A. Dubini, R. Piccoletti, P. Bendinelli, P. Maroni, G. Pezzoli, G. Ramella, A. Calogero, F. Cavagnini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous hypothalamic peptides are involved in the control of eating behaviour. We assessed plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of SRIH, β-endorphin (β-EP), CRH, NPY and GHRH in a group of massively obese patients and in normal weight subjects. In the obese patients, CSF SRIH and β-EP levels were significantly reduced and increased, respectively, compared with controls (20.6 ± 2.62, mean ± s.e.m., vs 34.5 ± 2.14 pg/ml, P <0.05, for SRIH and 111.2 ± 5.00 vs 80.4 ± 5.32 pg/ml, P <0.001, for β-EP). Considering the data of obese and control subjects altogether, SRIH and β-EP concentrations correlated negatively and positively, respectively, with BMI values (r = - 0.641, P <0.005 and r = 0.518, P <0.05). No significant differences were observed in CSF levels of CRH, NPY and GHRH between obese and normal weight subjects, though GHRH levels were close to the assay sensitivity. CSF concentrations of CRH were positively correlated with those of SRIH in obese patients (r = 0.60, P <0.05) and with those of NPY both in obese (r = 0.69, P <0.02) and in control subjects (r = 0.83, P <0.005). Plasma levels of SRIH, β-EP, NPY and GHRH did not differ significantly in the two groups of subjects; plasma CRH was undetectable. Our results argue against the hypothesis of an enhanced SRIH tone as the cause of impaired GH secretion in obese patients, a primary defect in GHRH or GH release seems more likely. Moreover, they emphasise the importance of an increased tone of endogenous opioids in the pathophysiology of human obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • CSF β-endorphin
  • CSF somatostatin
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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