Endorphin and enkephalin

Endorphin and enkephalin are the body's natural painkillers. When a person is injured, pain impulses travel up the spinal cord to the brain. The brain then releases endorphins and enkephalins. Enkephalins block pain signals in the spinal cord. Endorphins are thought to block pain principally at the brain stem. Both are morphine-like substances whose functions are similar to those of opium-based drugs.

Today, the word "endorphin" is used generically to describe both groups of painkillers. These naturally occurring opiates include enkephalins (methionine and leucine), endorphins (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and a growing number of synthetic (artificial) compounds.

Natural and Artificial Painkillers

In the mid-1960s scientists proposed theories that the opiate narcotics (opium, heroin, morphine) mimic the actions of naturally occurring chemicals within the brain. They believed that these narcotics act as painkillers by manipulating the brain's receivers for those naturally occurring substances.

In the late 1970s researchers learned that there are specific areas in the brain that control pain. It is those areas that opiates attach themselves to in order to perform their functions. It was only then that researchers were able to identify the two naturally occurring pain killers, endorphins and enkephalins. This offered opportunities for developing drugs similar in structure to the natural pain-killing substances.

[See also Morphine ; Opium ]

User Contributions:

that was clearly explained.i used to confuse endorphins and enkephalins but now i understand
In 1996 a team of the Institut Pasteur of Paris discovered Opiorphin, that modulate the half-live of enkephalins. This discovery open a new window for the development of natural pain killers. Opiorphin is currently being developped as drug.
I write fiction. I'm wondering about any know causal connection to enkaphalins neuro-receptors over or under firing after and during exposure to MDMA. ie, if you slip somebody MDMA without his or her knowing it, would they recognize it later and understand what they had been given. significant plot point hangs in the balance and I can't tell from personal experience, because my enkaphalins constantly over fire and I hardly ever feel pain regardless of what I've been slipped. if anybody has any idea, I'll check back
Good piece, but I suggest you change the title to the plural form of endorphins and enkephalins.
Janiece Roche
I am in a great deal of pain, I have been using Morphine and slow release OxyMorphone for a long time. Is this a product that can be prescribed. Is this product approved by the FDA. does this product allow one to come off of Morphine easier.
Mark Steffy
What type of testing has been done on this product? Has there been any impartial 3rd party testing on this product? I have been of morphine for over 15 years and would like to get off of it. I use it for a chronic back condition. I urge the manufacturer of this product to let us know what testing has been done to prove their product.
Charles Gordon
where can I get this medicine? I am very interested since I have knee pain and do not want to have an operation.

Janiece, you may have hypernemia. Which is when there is no down-regulation in the receptor site. The effect is counter intuitive, as the patient begins to develop greater sensitivity to pain! I know from decades of experiance. Slowly ween yourself down. In two or three weeks you will notice a far greater tolerance to pain. The receptor sites cannot function when they are being continiously flooded with narcotics or exogines opioids. Take a break, lower you dose, exercise and watch the pain go away.
joann m bullerin
Is there a medication that acts like your own natural enkephalins I have had debilitating migraines and neck pain for over 10 years with pain every day I'm losing hope I've tried everything please help
I think it may be a form of Hyperanalgesia, an abnormally increased sensitivity to pain; which may be caused by damage to nociceptors or peripheral nerves, that some are describing. What may not hurt most people can cause significant pain in an individual with Hyperalgesia. "Hyperaemia" is the increase of blood flow to different tissues in the body.

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