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Endogenous Opioid Peptides in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders

  • Frăncesca Brambilla
  • Andrea Genazzani
  • Fabio Facchinetti

Abstract

The involvement of endogenous opioid peptides in the nurture of mental diseases is suggested by the following observations:
  1. 1.

    β-Endorphin (β-EP) and enkephalins may act as neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (CNS) in a mediatory process that involves the inhibition of postsynaptic adenylate cyclase and the activation of guanylate cyclase (Gispen et al., 1977; Minneman and Iversen, 1976), or in a modulatory function that alters the response of neurons to the stimulatory effects of classical nonpeptide neurotransmitters. This last effect could be obtained by en-dorphin-induced modifications of the neuronal membranes, resulting in altered activity of specific enzymes involved in neuronal function. In this context β-EP could interfere with the activity of classical neurotransmitters, and therefore changes in the levels of these natural opioids could be responsible for the appearance and development of mental diseases. Enkephalins have been shown to inhibit the release of acetylcholine (ACh) in the hippocampus, of nora-drenalin (NE), dopamine (DA) and adenylate cyclase in the entire brain and especially in the striatum of rats (Kosterlitz and Hughes, 1975).

     
  2. 2.

    A specific behavioral effect has been demonstrated in animals injected intracerebrally with β-EP, represented by a catatonialike condition with motor retardation and muscular rigidity, which is considered to be an anologue of human catatonia or of the extrapyramidal rigidity elicited in schizophrenics by neuroleptics (Bloom et al., 1976; Jacquet and Marks, 1976).

     

Keywords

Schizophrenic Patient Auditory Hallucination Chronic Schizophrenia Biological Psychiatry Mental Health Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frăncesca Brambilla
    • 1
  • Andrea Genazzani
    • 2
  • Fabio Facchinetti
    • 2
  1. 1.Ospedale Psichiatrico Paolo PiniMilano AfforiItaly
  2. 2.Cattedra di Patologia Ostetrica-GinecologicaUniversità di CagliariCagliariItaly

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