Comparative features of enkephalin and neurotensin in the mammalian central nervous system
Interest in recent years has centred on small peptides as possible neurotransmitters or neuromodulators in the central nervous system (CNS). Some of these, such as somatostatin and thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH), were first explored as hypothalamic releasing factors for pituitary hormones. Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and gastrin were identified as gastrointestinal modulators and angiotensin has been well known as a regulator of vascular muscle activity and adrenal gland secretion. Substance P and neurotensin were first characterised as brain peptides of unknown function; enkephalin as the brain’s endogenous opioid peptide. Most ‘neuropeptides’ appear to be associated with cells that have arisen embryologically from neuroectodermal elements and which are localised in the intestinal system or the CNS. Enkephalin and neurotensin will constitute the major focus of this chapter.
KeywordsVasoactive Intestinal Peptide Thyrotropin Release Hormone Opioid Peptide Opiate Receptor Zona Incerta
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