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Defatted breast milk from women with postpartum psychosis and from healthy lactating women was analyzed by high-resolution gel permeation chromatography as well as by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and urea polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The gel permeation procedure allowed quantitative analysis of milk proteins (including betacasein) with minute amounts of defatted milk (10–15 μl). By electrophoresis, further characterization of the protein pattern, including the beta-casein fraction, was obtained. Milk samples from five control and seven psychotic subjects were analyzed. The concentration of the beta-casein-containing peak was significantly lower in milk samples from the psychotic group by both chromatography and electrophoresis. These lower levels of beta-casein may result from a higher rate of enzymatic degradation generating i.a. peptides with opioid activity, as shown earlier in plasma and CSF of women with postpartum psychosis.
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Received in revised form: April 18, 1987
Received: February 9, 1987
☆Supported by Swedish Medical Council Grant 5095 and by Amundson's Fund.
© 1988 Published by Elsevier Inc.