The possible link between the opioid peptide beta endorphin and the heterogeneity of the clinical course of multiple sclerosis (MS) was investigated. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) concentrations of beta endorphin were measured in 50 patients in different phases of MS. Thirty nine patients also underwent post-contrast magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. Among MS forms, the highest beta endorphin concentrations were found in PBMC from patients with relapsing remitting MS and the lowest in patients with the progressive forms. Average beta endorphin concentrations were lower, although not significantly, in patients with than in those without magnetic resonance imaging enhanced lesions. These data suggest that beta endorphin may have a role in the downregulation of the inflammatory process.