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Opioids and Pain Signaling


Pain is one of the most trying experiences of life. On the cellular level it is communicated via special neuronal pathways. On the molecular level, however, pain is communicated like any other sensation, via a set of electrical and chemical signals facilitated by complex molecular machinery. These signals can be modulated by opioids, causing us to feel less pain, or no pain at all. Learn how opioids activate the G-proteins which in turn interact with other proteins to edit the pain signal.


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Voltage gated sodium channels on axonal membrane

Axonal membrane with voltage gated sodium channels

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Neuronal synapse with vesicles and relevant proteins highlighted

Neuronal synapse with vesicles and relevant proteins highlighted

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Natural and synthetic opioids targeting opioid receptors on a neuron

Natural and synthetic opioids targeting opioid receptors on a neuron

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Action Potential

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Synaptic Signaling

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Opioids and G protein

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