/en dawr"fin/, n.any of a group of peptides occurring in the brain and other tissues of vertebrates, and resembling opiates, that react with the brain's opiate receptors to raise the pain threshold.
* * *Any of a group of proteins occurring in the brain and having pain-relieving properties typical of opium and related opiates.Discovered in the 1970s, they include enkephalin, beta-endorphin, and dynorphin. Each is distributed in characteristic patterns throughout the nervous system. Endorphins are released in response to pain or sustained exertion (causing, e.g., the "runner's high"). They are also believed to have a role in appetite control, release of pituitary sex hormones, and shock. There is strong evidence that they are connected with "pleasure centres" in the brain, and they seem to be activated by acupuncture. Knowledge of their behaviour has implications for treating addictions and chronic pain.
* * *any of a group of opiate proteins with pain-relieving properties that are found naturally in the brain. The main substances identified as endorphins include the enkephalins, beta-endorphin, and dynorphin, which were discovered in the 1970s by Roger Guillemin (Guillemin, Roger Charles Louis) and other researchers. Endorphins are distributed in characteristic patterns throughout the nervous system, with beta-endorphin found almost entirely in the pituitary gland.Endorphins have been found to be clearly involved in the regulation of pain; even the analgesic effects of acupuncture treatments may be attributable to them. Such substances are also believed to have some relation to appetite control, the release of sex hormones through the pituitary, and the adverse effects of shock. There is strong evidence that endorphins are connected with “pleasure centres” in the brain. Knowledge about the behaviour of the endorphins and their receptors in the brain has implications for the treatment of opiate addictions and chronic pain disorders.
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