The opiate receptor and morphine-like peptides in the brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Opiate receptors, neuronal membrane proteins that have been identified by the direct binding to membranes of radioactive opiates, have been shown to mediate the pharmacological effects of opiate drugs. Examination of brain extracts for substances that mimic effects of opiates on the opiate receptor permitted identification of the enkephalins, 2 peptides, each containing 5 amino acids, which are the normal substrates for the opiate receptor. Enkephalins are contained in specific neurons localized to areas of the brain enriched in opiate receptors. Enkephalin-containing neurons and opiate receptors are concentrated in portions of the brain that mediate pain perception, emotional behavior, and other functions altered by opiates. β-Endorphin, an opiate-like peptide containing 31 amino acids, is localized to the pituitary gland from which it can be released into the circulation to act presumably at peripheral target organs. In the brain β-endorphin is concentrated in the hypothalamus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The opiate receptor and morphine-like peptides in the brain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this