European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 153, Issue 5, pp 381–386 | Cite as

Inverse relationship between beta-endorphin immunoreactivity in cerebrospinal fluid and nucleus tractus solitarius in sudden infant death

  • Hanne Storm
  • Torleiv O. Rognum
  • Karl L. Reichelt
Original Paper


In nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) beta-endorphin (BEND) induces bradycardia and respiratory depression which have been reported to precede death in sudden infant death (SID). Of SID victims, 50% have elevated levels of beta-endorphin immunoreactivity (BENDI) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and 50% had undetectable levels. We therefore investigated the relationship of BENDI in the CSF to BENDI levels in the NTS area. This study included SID victims (CSF fromn=47, brain stem fromn=16), borderline SID victims (CSF and brain stem fromn=2), sudden death in childhood (CSF and brain stem fromn=1), and controls (CSF fromn=32, brain stem fromn=11). BEND in CSF and NTS area, after extraction, was measured by radioimmunoasay. High performance liquid chromatography was used for closer identification of BENDI. We found that the SID victims divided into two subpopulations, one having a relatively high BENDI level in CSF and one having no detectable level (P<0.01). Furthermore, an inverse relationship was found between BENDI level in CSF and BENDI level in NTS area in the SID victims (P<0.05). We conclude that increased BENDI level in CSF is associated with low BENDI level in the NTS area in 50% of SID victims. The low BENDI level in CSF is associated with low BENDI level in the NTS area in 50% of SID victims. The low BENDI level in the NTS area may be due to increased release of BEND.

Key words

Beta-endorphin Cerebrospinal fluid Nucleus tractus solitarius Sudden infant death 



adreno corticotropic hormone




beta-eerebrospinal fluid


high performance liquid chromatography


nucleus tractus solitarius


sudden death in childhood


sudden infant death




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanne Storm
    • 1
  • Torleiv O. Rognum
    • 2
  • Karl L. Reichelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric ResearchRikshospitaletOslo 1Norway
  2. 2.Institute of Forensic MedicineRikshospitaletOslo 1Norway

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