Opioid peptides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


Opioid peptides produced in the body act as neuromodulators that modify the actions of other neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. By altering the electrical properties of their target neurons, thereby making these neurons more difficult to excite, opioid peptides can influence the release of various neurotransmitters. As a result of this modulation, opioid peptides can - among other functions - induce pain relief and euphoria as well as affect certain behaviors, including alcohol consumption. Alcohol can activate the opioid peptide system. This mechanism may contribute to alcohol reinforcement and excessive alcohol consumption, because agents that inhibit the opioid peptide system decrease alcohol self-administration in animals and reduce craving and alcohol consumption in human alcoholics. Moreover, a genetically determined, increased responsiveness of the opioid system to alcohol may contribute to a predisposition for alcoholism in some people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-136
Number of pages5
JournalAlcohol Research and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997


  • AOD craving
  • AOD sensitivity
  • AOD use behavior
  • Biological activation
  • Brain
  • Central nervous system
  • Drug interaction
  • Endogenous opioids
  • Neuron
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Opioid receptors
  • Peptides
  • Reinforcement
  • Self administration of drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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