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Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opioid receptors and act as neurotransmitters. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions.
[endo(genous) + (mo)rphin(e).]
(Biochemistry) any of a class of polypeptides, including enkephalin, occurring naturally in the brain, that bind to pain receptors and so block pain sensation
[C20: from endo- + morphine]
any of a group of peptides, resembling opiates, that are released in the body in response to stress or trauma and that react with the brain's opiate receptors to reduce the sensation of pain.
[1970–75; end(ogenous) (m)orphine]
Any of a group of substances found in the nervous system, especially in the brain, that regulate the body's response to pain and other stimuli.
Did You Know? In the 1970s, scientists began to wonder why drugs like morphine could kill pain so effectively. Researchers knew that morphine attached to specific body molecules called receptors, so they reasoned that these receptors probably existed because the body itself had natural painkilling compounds that also bonded to those receptors. They searched and finally found proteins called endorphins, a word that combines endogenous, meaning "naturally occurring within the body," and morphine. When your body is under stress, it can produce endorphins so that you can still function under what would otherwise be exceptionally painful conditions. Many long-distance runners, for example, claim that after they run for a while they start to feel exceptionally happy, a condition sometimes called a runner's high. High levels of endorphins in response to the strain of running seem to be responsible for this state of mind.
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|Noun||1.||endorphin - a neurochemical occurring naturally in the brain and having analgesic properties|
peptide - amide combining the amino group of one amino acid with the carboxyl group of another; usually obtained by partial hydrolysis of protein
neurochemical - any organic substance that occurs in neural activity
beta endorphin - an endorphin produced by the pituitary gland that suppresses pain
enkephalin - an endorphin having opiate qualities that occurs in the brain and spinal cord and elsewhere