Mononuclear cell β-endorphin concentration in women with and without endometriosis

Paolo Vercellini, Paola Sacerdote, Alberto E. Panerai, Barbara Manfredi, Luca Bocciolone, Pier Giorgio Crosignani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seventy-five consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopy for chronic pelvic pain and/or infertility were studied to test whether β-endorphin concentrations in peripheral mononuclear cells differed according to the presence or absence of endometriosis. Endometriosis was diagnosed in 45 subjects (minimal in 24, mild in 11, moderate in four, and severe in six). Twenty-eight women (62%) with endometriosis and ten (33%) without the disease reported moderate or severe pelvic pain. β-Endorphin levels were lower in the endometriosis group than in the controls (16.6 ± 11.2 versus 21.9 ± 10.5 pg/106 cells; P <.01). This decrease was attributable to reduced β-endorphin concentrations in the endometriosis patients with moderate or severe pain compared with symptomatic controls (15.5 ± 10.0 versus 26.3 ± 7.0 pg/106 cells; P <.01). A significant difference was also found in relation to the cycle phase: The opioid concentration was reduced in the luteal phase in the endometriosis group compared with controls (14.4 ± 8.4 versus 23.8 ± 7.5 pg/106 cells; P <.01), but no differences were demonstrated in the follicular and periovulatory phases. β-Endorphin is capable of modulating the immune response and can be considered as a classical cytokine. Low β-endorphin production during the luteal phase may have implications in the development and/or maintenance of endometriosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-746
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mononuclear cell β-endorphin concentration in women with and without endometriosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this