Nov 13, 2006

opiorphin: a new kind of painkiller in your spit?

Saliva from humans has yielded a natural painkiller up to six times more powerful than morphine, researchers say.

The substance, dubbed opiorphin, may spawn a new generation of natural painkillers that relieve pain as well as morphine but without the addictive and psychological side effects of the traditional drug....

The substance was so successful at blocking pain that, in a test involving a platform of upended pins, the rats needed six times as much morphine as opiorphin to render them oblivious to the pain of standing on the needle points.
No wonder kissing boo-boos makes them better. (Tangent: when French kissing is outlawed, only French outlaws will kiss.)

Update: The paper's abstract is here.
Opiorphin displays potent analgesic activity in chemical and mechanical pain models by activating endogenous opioid-dependent transmission. Its function is closely related to the rat sialorphin peptide, which is an inhibitor of pain perception and acts by potentiating endogenous ยต- and {delta}-opioid receptor-dependent enkephalinergic pathways

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