Background/Purpose: Previous studies suggested that β-endorphin has a pathogenic role in psoriasis: its increased plasma concentration may play a role in the neuroimmunological processes in the pathomechanism of the disease, and plasma β-endorphin levels should reflect the changes in the patients' skin status. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes of peripheral blood β-endorphin levels in psoriatic patients in conjunction with changes in their skin symptoms after synchronous balneophototherapy.
Methods: With synchronous balneophototherapy, 12 patients with extended skin symptoms of psoriasis were treated. The therapy followed the Regensburg protocol, consisting of a basic course of 35 sessions. Patients' skin status was characterized by evaluating the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score before and after the therapy course. Blood samples were taken before treatment, and 1 day after the last session, with symptom-free skin. Plasma β-endorphin levels were measured by a specific radioimmunoassay developed by the authors.
Results: There was no significant change in plasma levels of β-endorphin after clinical clearance of psoriatic skin symptoms.
Conclusion: In this non-randomized, uncontrolled study no significant difference could be detected between plasma β-endorphin levels before and after a basic course of synchronous balneophototherapy in patients with psoriasis. Although β-endorphin has many neuroimmunological effects, the changes of its plasma level do not consistently reflect the skin status. Inflammation in psoriatic skin lesions is probably not mediated directly by circulating β-endorphin.