Since the isolation of the first endogenous opioid peptides over ten years ago their precursors, and their receptors have been characterized (46) research has expanded exponentially. Many different opioid peptides, (12, 68, 79). Physiological roles for opioids have been described in such diverse areas as nociception, behavior and psychiatry, appetite, stress and shock. Much interest has centered, particularly in man, on the role of opioids in neuroendocrine regulation, which is the subject of this review. As always, differences exist between man and other animals, e.g. the much-studied rat. For brevity this review will therefore concentrate on the human data, mentioning other species only if important differences exist or if no comparable data are available in man. Unless otherwise stated all effects appear to occur at the hypothalamic rather than pituitary level. For clarity we use the term peptides, and opioid to refer to endogenous opiate to refer to morphine-like alkaloids (45). OPIOID PEPTIDES AND RECEPTORS All opioids firmly established to exist in man derive from one of three precursor peptides, whose structure has been elucidated from DNA analysis pentapeptides met- and leu-enkephalin were the first isolated (79). The (46); they share the N-terminal sequence Tyr-Gly-Gly-Phe, which appears to
Annual Review of Physiology – Annual Reviews
Published: Mar 1, 1986
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