Full Text

Endorphins

Thais Piassa Rogatko


Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Extract

Endorphins are neurotransmitters found in the brain that bind to opiate receptors and produce a feeling of pain relief also known as analgesia . The word endorphin is derived from the words endogenous (meaning from within the body) and morphine (a powerful pain fighting drug). The term endorphin refers to all the opioid peptides. There are currently more than 20 types of endorphins that have been discovered in humans. Endorphins were first discovered in 1976 by two independent groups of scientists. John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz of Scotland isolated what they called enkephalins from the brain of a pig. Around the same time, Rabi Simantov and Solomon Snyder of the United States found in the calf brain what Eric Simon (who independently discovered opioid receptors in the brain) later termed endorphins. In addition to regulating pain, endorphins are related to feelings of euphoria, appetite modulation, memory, body temperature regulation, and the release of sex hormones. The release of endorphins has also been shown to lower blood pressure. Additionally, endorphins are known to enhance the immune system and retard the aging process by removing superoxide (a free radical) from the body. Several painkilling drugs, such as morphine and codeine, act like endorphins by activating opiate receptors. Endorphins are released by exposure to light, and in response to pain, stress, sexual ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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