Horm Metab Res 2005; 37(3): 172-177
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-861303
Original Clinical
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Three-generation Investigation on Serotonin Content in Rat Immune Cells long after β-endorphin Exposure in Late Pregnancy

G.  Csaba1 , C.  Karabélyos2 , Á.  Inczefi-Gonda1 , É.  Pállinger3
  • 1Department of Genetics, Cell and Immunobiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest
  • 2Biotest Hungaria Ltd. Budapest
  • 3Molecular Immunological Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest
Further Information

Publication History

Received 19 July 2004

Accepted after revision 1 September 2004

Publication Date:
12 April 2005 (online)


Female rats were treated with β-endorphin on the 19th day of pregnancy. Serotonin content of immune cells (peritoneal lymphocytes, monocyte-macrophage-granulocyte group (mo-gran), mast cells, blood lymphocytes, granulocytes and monocytes, thymus lymphocytes) were studied in the mothers (P-generation four weeks after delivery), in the male offspring (F1) generation (at seven weeks), in the female offspring (four weeks after their own delivery) and in their offspring (F2 generation, at seven weeks). P-mother cells’ serotonin content was not influenced by endorphin treatment, while F1 generation’s mo-gran and blood lymphocyte serotonin content was reduced (in contrast, histamine content of mo-gran increased). Four weeks after delivery, an increase in serotonin content was observed in the F1 generation in the peritoneal lymphocytes and mast cells as well as in blood lymphocytes. In contrast, serotonin content was reduced in blood granulocytes and monocytes. In the F2 (grandson) generation, a reduction in mast cell serotonin content and sensitization of blood and thymic lymphocytes to repeated endorphin treatment was provoked. The significant changes were more expressed in the F2 generation compared to F1, also appearing earlier. The results unequivocally suggest that the increase in endorphin levels during late pregnancy can cause permanent changes in the F1 and F2 generations, which means that the imprinting effect can be transgenerationally transmitted.


Prof. G. Csaba, MD, PhD 

Semmelweis University of Medicine · Department of Genetics, Cell and Immunobiology

POB 370 · H-1445 Budapest · Hungary

Phone: +36(1)2102950

Fax: +36(1)2102950 ·

Email: csagyor@dgci.sote.hu