- any of a group of peptides occurring in the brain and other tissues of vertebrates, and resembling opiates, that react with the brain's opiate receptors to raise the pain threshold.
Origin of endorphin
Examples from the Web for endorphins
They find places where heroin use is rampant and feed off the endorphins of pleasure that addicts experience.Punks, UFOs, and Heroin: How ‘Liquid Sky’ Became a Cult Movie
June 2, 2014
Exercise can increase your energy levels by 20 percent and the boost in endorphins help lift your mood.Short on Zzz’s? 15 Research-Backed Sleep Hacks
May 9, 2014
Endorphins are released during sex, just as they are during a strenuous workout.People Who Have Had Rebound Sex Tell Us Why It Is Awesome
January 31, 2014
These endorphins create a sense of euphoria or well-being, which makes you want to eat more peppers for more endorphins.Hot-Sauce Addicts
July 28, 2009
When the sudden burst of air is combined with the endorphins released during sex, the result is a heightened thrill.The Dangerous Appeal of Choking
June 14, 2009
At Scoville temperatures like that, your brain gets totally awash in endorphins.Little Brother
- any of a class of polypeptides, including enkephalin, occurring naturally in the brain, that bind to pain receptors and so block pain sensation
Word Origin and History for endorphins
- Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opiate receptors and are found mainly in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions.
- Any of a group of peptide substances secreted by the anterior portion of the pituitary gland that inhibit the perception of painful stimuli. Endorphins act as neurotransmitters in the pain pathways of the brain and spinal cord. Narcotic drugs may stimulate the secretion of endorphins.
A Closer Look: Endorphins are long chains of amino acids, or polypeptides, that are able to bind to the neuroreceptors in the brain and are capable of relieving pain in a manner similar to that of morphine. There are three major types of endorphins: beta-endorphins are found almost entirely in the pituitary gland, while enkephalins and dynorphins are both distributed throughout the nervous system. Scientists had suspected that analgesic opiates, such as morphine and heroin, worked effectively against pain because the body had receptors that were activated by such drugs. They reasoned that these receptors probably existed because the body itself had natural painkilling compounds that also bonded to those receptors. When scientists in the 1970s isolated a biochemical from a pituitary gland hormone that showed analgesic properties, Choh Li, a chemist from Berkeley, California, named it endorphin, meaning the morphine within. Besides behaving as a pain reducer, endorphins are also thought to be connected to euphoric feelings, appetite modulation, and the release of sex hormones. Prolonged, continuous exercise contributes to an increased production of endorphins and, in some people, the subsequent runner's high.
Substances produced by the brain that have painkilling and tranquillizing effects on the body. Endorphins are thought to be similar to morphine and are usually released by the brain during times of extreme body stress. The release of endorphins may explain why trauma victims sometimes cannot feel the pain associated with their injuries.