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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;29(8):1264-80. Epub 2005 Oct 26.

Interface of physical and emotional stress regulation through the endogenous opioid system and mu-opioid receptors.

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University of Michigan, Department of Psychiatry and Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, MBNI, 205 Zine Pitcher Place, 48109-0720, USA.


Unraveling the pathways and neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the regulation of physical and emotional stress responses in humans is of critical importance to understand vulnerability and resiliency factors to the development of a number of complex physical and psychopathological states. Dysregulation of central stress response circuits have been implicated in the establishment of conditions as diverse as persistent pain, mood and personality disorders and substance abuse and dependence. The present review examines the contribution of the endogenous opioid system and mu-opioid receptors to the modulation and adaptation of the organism to challenges, such as sustained pain and negative emotional states, which threaten its internal homeostasis. Data accumulated in animal models, and more recently in humans, point to this neurotransmitter system as a critical modulator of the transition from acute (warning signals) to sustained (stressor) environmental adversity. The existence of pathways and regulatory mechanisms common to the regulation of both physical and emotional states transcend classical categorical disease classifications, and point to the need to utilize dimensional, "symptom"-related approximations to their study. Possible future areas of study at the interface of "mind" (cognitive-emotional) and "body" (physical) functions are delineated in this context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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