Scientists have identified five slightly different versions of the mu opioid receptor gene that alter the activity of a molecule called beta-endorphin, a member of the endorphin family of proteins that can numb pain, create feelings of euphoria or increase energy, which opiates and other drugs of analgesia and addiction do as well. The findings, reported by researchers from The Rockefeller University, Indiana University School of Medicine and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in the August 4 Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, show for the first time that these altered molecules are distributed differently among ethnic groups and have implications for normal physiology, therapeutics and vulnerability to develop or protect from diverse diseases involving mu opioid receptors, including the addictive diseases.
The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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