The possible role of different peptidergic systems in the postictal stage of human epilepsy was studied by measuring beta-endorphin, somatostatin, and prolactin levels by radioimmunoassay of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from nine epileptic patients. The first sample was taken within 2 hours after generalised tonic-clonic convulsion, and the second sample was obtained interictally after 1-4 days without any kind of clinically observable seizures. beta-endorphin was elevated postictally (p = 0.044) compared with interictal levels. SLI and PROL were similar in both samples. The present study suggests that in humans beta-endorphin is released into CSF during generalised seizures. This may indicate that neurons containing beta-endorphin are activated during a seizure.
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