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Symbol PDYN
Entrez 5173
HUGO 8820
OMIM 131340
RefSeq NM_024411
UniProt P01213
Other data
Locus Chr. 20 pter-p12.2

Dynorphin is a class of peptides produced by many different populations of neurons, which has some opiate-like activity. It is thus classed as an endogenous opioid peptide.

Dynorphin functions primarily as a kappa opioid receptor agonist, meaning that it acts mainly at kappa opioid receptors. Other opioid peptides include beta-endorphin, met-enkephalin, leu-enkephalin and endomorphins.

The dynorphins, which include dynorphin A, dynorphin B, alpha- and beta-neoendorphin, and big dynorphin, are all the products of a single gene, 'preprodynorphin'.



Dynorphin is produced in many different parts of the brain, including the hypothalamus, the hippocampus and the spinal cord, and has many different physiological actions, depending upon its site of production.

  • For example, dynorphin that is made in magnocellular vasopressin neurons of the supraoptic nucleus is important in the patterning of electrical activity. Dynorphin produced in magnocellular oxytocin neurons is a negative feedback inhibitor of oxytocin secretion.
  • Dynorphin produced in the arcuate nucleus and in orexin neurons of the lateral hypothalamus affects the control of appetite.

Clinical significance

Dynorphin may act as an antidote to pleasurable effects of cocaine. As such, it may help some individuals against addiction.[1]

Blocking dynorphin may help alleviate depression.[2]

Recent research has demonstrated that pulmonary delivery may be an effective means of distributing dynorphin derivatives.[3]


It was discovered in the mid-1970s in the laboratory of Avram Goldstein, one of the most important researchers in the field of opioid receptors and endogenous opioid peptides. At first, it was described as an opioid activity present in porcine pituitary extract that proved resistant to chemical degradation by cyanogen bromide, indicating that the activity was not due to the well-known pituitary endogenous opioid peptide beta-endorphin. The molecular identification was achieved by Goldstein in collaboration with the Japanese biochemist, Shinro Tachibana for purification, and M. Hunkapiller and L. Hood, who performed the microsequencing.[4]


  1. ^ Dynorphin: Nature's Own Antidote to Cocaine (and Pleasure?). Retrieved on March 4, 2005.
  2. ^ Dynorphin and Depression. Retrieved on March 4, 2005.
  3. ^ Brugos B, Arya V, Hochhaus G (2004). "Stabilized dynorphin derivatives for modulating antinociceptive activity in morphine tolerant rats: effect of different routes of administration". AAPS J 6 (4): e36. PMID 15760101.
  4. ^ Goldstein A, Tachibana S, Lowney L, Hunkapiller M, Hood L (1979). "Dynorphin-(1-13), an extraordinarily potent opioid peptide". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 76 (12): 6666-70. PMID 230519.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dynorphin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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