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The opioid system and addiction 

The opioid system and addiction
The opioid system and addiction

Professor David J. Nutt

and Dr Liam J. Nestor

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date: 24 June 2021

The brain contains a complex system of endogenous opioid peptides

These peptides are called endorphins, encephalins and dynorphin

Endorphins preferentially bind to the mu opioid receptor (mOR)

Encephalins preferentially bind to the delta receptor (dOR)

Dynorphin preferentially bind to the kappa receptor (kOR)

Opiates, such as heroin and morphine, also stimulate the mOR

The mOR is up regulated in substance addiction

Genetic polymorphisms at the mOR influence subjective responses to alcohol

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