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01 June 2005 : Original article  

Neurotransmitter role of endogenous morphine in CNS

Massimo Guarna, Carla Ghelardini, Nicoletta Galeotti, George B. Stefano, Enrica Bianchi

Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(6): RA190-193 :: ID: 16517

Abstract

Summary
Endogenous morphine is present in the mammalian brain as determined by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The criteria essential for satisfying the defi nition of morphine as a neurotransmitter are examined. The detection of endogenous morphine-like compounds inside brain neurons by immunocytochemistry and the Ca+ dependent release of endogenous morphine from rat brain slices provide evidence for its transmitter status. Indirect evidence that endogenous morphine modulates thermonociception and weakens memory through mu opioid receptors again supports a neurotransmitter role for this chemical messenger. Evidence has been found for its endogenous synthesis in animal tissues as well. These fi ndings indicate that endogenous morphine might function as neuromodulator/neurotransmitter agent in the CNS.

Keywords: Brain Chemistry, Central Nervous System - chemistry, Mammals, Memory - physiology, Morphine - analysis, Morphine - metabolism, Pain - physiopathology, Receptors, Opioid, mu - physiology, Stress, Psychological, Brain Chemistry, Central Nervous System - chemistry, Mammals, Memory - physiology, Morphine - metabolism, Pain - physiopathology, Receptors, Opioid, mu - physiology, Stress, Psychological

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750