beta-Endorphin concentration in colostrums of Burkinabe and Sicilian women.

Ombra MN, Musumeci M, Simpore J, Palano GM, Musumeci S.

Nutrition. 2008 Jan ;24(1):31-6. Epub 2007 Nov 5. PMID : 17981438 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

OBJECTIVE : Endorphins (EPs) present in human colostrum may be relevant for immediate postnatal fetal adaptation because this compound is involved in stress response and adaptation mechanisms. Endorphin levels in human colostrum are two-fold greater than corresponding maternal plasma levels ; however, the high endorphin levels in human milk decrease as lactation continues. The aim of this study was to determine the beta-EP concentration in colostrums of women residing in Burkina Faso and Sicily. In addition, we investigated the source of potential differences in beta-EP levels between these populations, especially ethnic sources of these deviations.
METHODS : The concentration of beta-EP was determined in the colostrum from the first 3 d subsequent to delivery by an enzyme immunoassay as immunoreactive material (IRM).
RESULTS : The production of beta-EP in the colostrum was significantly higher in Burkinabe mothers (0.83 +/- 0.04 ng/mL) than in Sicilian mothers (0.31 +/- 0.02 ng/mL) at 24 h after delivery. Colostrum levels of beta-EP declined progressively during the first 3 d after delivery in both populations (0.64 +/- 0.1 and 0.28 +/- 0.015 ng/mL, respectively, at 72 h). The level of beta-EP-IRM correlated significantly with pain and psychological involvement during and after delivery. In addition, the correlation between beta-EP-IRM and length of stage II of labor was significant (P < 0.0001) in the colostrums of Sicilian mothers who received ergot derivatives, episiorrhaphy, and child birth preparation. The correlation between beta-EP-IRM and length of stage II was less significant (P < 0.001) in the colostrums of Burkinabe mothers who received neither ergot derivatives nor child birth preparation.
CONCLUSION : During the first 3 d after labor the beta-EP-IRM concentration in the colostrums of Burkinabe mothers differs from that of Sicilians. In addition, because Burkinabe women produce a larger volume of colostrum, their newborns receive, during the first days of life, a larger absolute amount of beta-EP-IRM, likely resulting in better postnatal fetal adaptation.

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