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Endogenous opiates having morphine-like effects consisting of small polypeptides such as enkephalin and leu-enkephalin and longer polypeptides such as alpha-, ß-, and gamma-endorphins. They bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Endorphins induce analgesia when injected intraventricularly but not when administered peripherally, presumably because of their inability to cross the blood/brain barrier. The amino acid sequence of the endorphins is short enough to allow the gene sequences coding for them to be synthesized.
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