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Anales de Medicina Interna

Print version ISSN 0212-7199


ARBOL, J.L. del et al. Plasma concentrations of beta-endorphins in the children of alcoholic parents. An. Med. Interna (Madrid) [online]. 2007, vol.24, n.6, pp.273-277. ISSN 0212-7199.

Background:Of the factors identified in different studies as the possible causes of alcoholism, heredity appears to be the most important. However, environmental factors can increase or decrease the risk of an individual developing alcohol dependence. Methods: To clarify the possible influence of heredity on alcoholism, we studied the plasma concentration of beta-endorphins in 25 families with alcoholic members: 27 children whose father was alcoholic and 7 whose father and mother were both alcoholics. The results were compared with finding in an age-matched control group of no-drinking adults and normal children in non-drinking families. Results: The children of alcoholic parents had significantly lower beta-endorphin levels (p < 0.001) than control individuals, and concentrations were especially low when both parents were alcoholics. Conclusion: We conclude that plasma beta-endorphin concentration may have predictive value in identifying persons likely to become alcoholics.

Keywords : Alcoholism; Beta-endorphin; Genetic marker; Heredity.

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