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 ]



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Apr 22, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
that was clearly explained.i used to confuse endorphins and enkephalins but now i understand
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Aug 2, 2011 @ 1:01 am
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.
puba
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Apr 29, 2012 @ 12:00 am
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

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