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Endogenous opioids mediate stress-induced analgesia 

Endogenous opioids mediate stress-induced analgesia
Endogenous opioids mediate stress-induced analgesia

Claudia Sommer

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date: 17 September 2021

This chapter reviews the landmark paper published in 1990 by Stein et al. and entitled ‘Opioids from immunocytes interact with receptors on sensory nerves to inhibit nociception in inflammation’. Opioids, besides acting centrally as analgesics, may act peripherally upon opioid receptors located on axons and on immune cells. In the publication by Stein et al., it was shown for the first time that endogenous opioid peptides released from immune cells mediate stress-induced analgesia, potentially through opioid receptors on peripheral nerve endings. This finding has led to numerous follow-up studies on endogenous analgesia, including work showing that cannabinoid analgesia is mediated via the peripheral release of opioids, and to the concept of topical opioid analgesia, which may be a good way of using the potent analgesia that opioids can convey, without their CNS-associated side effects.

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