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Increased plasma β-endorphin immunoreactivity in scuba divers after submersion

ADAMS MICHAEL L.; EASTMAN, NORRIS W.; TOBIN, RICHARD P.; MORRIS, DALE L.; DEWEY, WILLIAM L.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 1987
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ABSTRACTS

ADAMS, M. L., N. W. EASTMAN, R. P. TOBIN, D. L. MORRIS, and W. L. DEWEY. Increased plasma β-endorphin immunoreactivity in scuba divers after submersion. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 87–90, 1987. After submersion under water in a motionless state of neutral buoyancy, scuba divers frequently report feelings of well-being or euphoria similar to those reported after strenuous exercise. Since strenuous exercise is associated with a stress-related increase in plasma β-endorphin immunoreactivity (β-EIR), this study was undertaken to measure plasma β-EIR after submersion in a state of neutral buoyancy under conditions that do not involve strenuous exercise or other extreme stresses. Plasma β-EIR was measured by radioimmunoassay in male scuba divers before and immediately after remaining motionless 10 ft under water in a state of neutral buoyancy. A significant (P < 0.01) increase in plasma β-EIR was found under these conditions. Venipuncture and scuba breathing out of the water did not alter β-EIR levels. These results indicate that the milder stress associated with submersion in a state of neutral buoyancy involves an increase in plasma β-EIR similar to that caused by severe stress.

©1987The American College of Sports Medicine