Caption: Enkephalin (endorphin) crystals. Enkephalin is a naturally occurring peptide endorphin (penta-peptide) isolated from the brain that has strong effects similar to opiates, and probably functions as a neurotransmitter. Endorphins bind to the opioid receptors in the brain. They disinhibit the dopamine pathways, causing more dopamine to be released into the synapses. Endorphins are endogenous opioid biochemical compounds. They are peptides produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a sense of well-being. In other words, they work as natural pain killers. The term endorphin is used generally to refer to all of the endogenous opioid compounds and implies a pharmacological activity (analogous to the activity of the corticosteroid category of biochemicals). The best-known endorphins are α-endorphin, β-endorphin and γ-endorphin, of which β-endorphin appears to be most implicated in pain relief. Endorphins regulate feelings of pain, hunger, heightened sensitivity and are connected to the production of sex hormones.
Magnification*: x25
Type: LM
Copyright 1985 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
Keywords: 880813-38,12.01.04,a-endorphin,ß-endorphin ,alpha-endorphin,beta-endorphin,biochemical,crystal,crystals,drug,drugs,endogenous opioid,endrophins,enkephalin,hunger,natural pain killer,neurotransmitter,opiate,opiates,opioid receptors,pain relief,peptide,penta-peptide,pharmacological activity,synapse,synapses,transmitter,gamma-endorphin,endorphin,LM