In order to study the mechanism of action of a Met-enkephalin (FK 33824) on the pituitary-adrenal axis eight normal male volunteers were subjected to an ACTH stimulation test. Lysine-vasopressing (LVP), 5 IU, was injected intramuscularly after pretreatment with 0.5 mg FK 33824 i.m. or a placebo. In six of the subjects the opiate was again administered preceding a single injection of 0.25 mg ACTH beta 1-24 i.m. Blood was collected at regular intervals and ACTH and cortisol concentrations analyzed in all samples. LVP induced significant plasma ACTH (P < 0.05) and cortisol (P < 0.001) increases. Pretreatment with FK 33824 completely antagonized the effect of LVP. Furthermore, the cortisol elevation after exogenous ACTH was not modified by previous administration of FK 33824. It is concluded that the Met-enkephalin derivative FK 33824 directly suppresses ACTH release from the pituitary without influencing adrenal synthesis of cortisol.
E del Pozo, J Martin-Perez, A Stadelmann, J Girard, J Brownell