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  • Author: Massimo Michelini x
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Pier P. Vescovi, Mario Pedrazzoni, Gilberto Gerra, Giulio Pioli, Letizia Maninetti, Massimo Michelini and Mario Passeri


To evaluate the responses of circulating β-endorphin, met-enkephalin and ACTH to sauna-induced hyperthermia, 8 male heroin addicts recently admitted to a therapeutic community and 8 age-matched normal subjects were examined. Compared with control subjects, heroin addicts showed 1. A decrease of the basal levels of β-endorphin; 2. Absence of the normal increase of β-endorphin and ACTH after sauna; 3. A lower increase in systolic blood pressure. It is concluded that an impairment of the adaptive response to stress may be present in heroin addicts, even after a relatively short drug-free period (14 days).

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Amos Casti, Giancarla Orlandini, Maria G Troglio, Franco Bacciottini, Massimo Michelini, Letizia Maninetti, Giuliano Vezzani, Gianni Rastelli and Pierpaolo Vescovi

Plasma β-endorphin, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and blood polyamine (spermidine and spermine) concentrations were evaluated in healthy adult male athletes undergoing hyperbaric oxygen exposure for 10 days (2.8 atm, 100% O2, 60 min daily). In the "acute phase", corresponding to the first day of treatment, and in the "acute in the chronic phase", corresponding to the values obtained on the 5th and 10th days after 60 min of hyperbaric O2, both ACTH and β-endorphin levels increased significantly, whereas no variations were observed for polyamine concentrations. In the "chronic phase", corresponding to the basal values of the 5th and 10th days of treatment, we found a different pattern. In fact, the concentration of polyamines showed a remarkable enhancement, while ACTH and β-endorphin levels remained unchanged. No significant variations were observed during hyperbarism with air. These results demonstrate different modifications of polyamines and β-endorphin and ACTH in subjects submitted to hyperbaric oxygen exposure.

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Mario Pedrazzoni, Pier P Vescovi, Letizia Maninetti, Massimo Michelini, Giulio Zaniboni, Giulio Pioli, Daniele Costi, Francesco S Alfano and Mario Passeri

Though the chronic use of opiates can modify several body functions, only a few data are available on the effects of opioid drugs on mineral metabolism. We have examined the possible consequences of chronic opiate abuse on bone mass, bone turnover and calcium metabolism in 13 male chronic heroin users, examined 1–2 days after the last administration of the drug (group A), 14 former male heroin addicts, examined 4–24 months after drug discontinuation (group B), and 22 healthy, age- and sex-matched control subjects. In group A, the vertebral bone mineral density (measured by Dual-Photon Absorptiometry) was significantly lower (p <0.05) than in the control subjects, despite similar values of total body bone mineral, lean body and fat mass. Blood-ionised calcium and urinary calcium and hydroxyproline were significantly increased (p<0.01), whereas parathyroid hormone was lower than in controls (p<0.01). Bone alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin, however, were not significantly different from the control values. LH and testosterone levels were low (p <0.01 vs controls). In contrast, group B subjects did not show significant differences from the control group. The chronic abuse of opioid drugs may be associated with altered bone metabolism and reduced trabecular bone mass, attributable, at least in part, to gonadal deficiency. These alterations seem reversible after drug discontinuation.