Beta-endorphin levels are reduced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of cluster headache patients

Cephalalgia. 1993 Dec;13(6):413-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-2982.1993.1306413.x.


Opioid system hypofunction has been postulated in cluster headache (CH) on the basis of reduced opioid levels found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In this study beta-endorphin levels were monitored in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 65 episodic CH patients (32 in remission and 33 in cluster period) and 50 healthy controls. Beta-endorphin levels were significantly lower than controls in CH patients experiencing both phases of the illness (ANOVA, p < 0.0001). The persistence of this abnormality during pain-free remission suggests a primary alteration in the regulation of beta-endorphin in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. We speculate that these findings reflect reduced CNS levels of beta-endorphin in CH.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cluster Headache / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • beta-Endorphin / blood*


  • beta-Endorphin