What are they? What do they do? How do they work?
Any info on this is appreciated.
Do you know what neurotransmitters are? Neuropeptides are peptide neurotransmitters; ie they are very short proteins, made up of a handful or a few dozen of amino acids. They are often released along with a more "standard" neurotransmitter like acetylcholine, GABA, glutamate, serotonin, etc. There are over a hundred neuropeptides known now I think... like Substance P, somatostatin, endorphins, vasopressin, oxytocin, Neuropeptide Y, CRF.....
I just ask because I have a friend who has been reading alot about them, and says that they are like extensions of the central nervous system, throughout your entire body (giving commands much like neurotransmitters in the brain). Incidently, my friend has also implied that this means our consciousness is spread throughout our entire body...but that's philosophical issue.
As Damgo has pointed out, Neuro-peptides are just very simple neuro-transmitters that are involved in the normal firing of neurons.
As to the contention that consciousness is spread thoughout the body, loosley speaking you could say that it is but only in the sense that the body is necessary for consciousness. The foundation of consciousness is a representation in the brain of the particular state of the body. Without it, consciousness ceases. This isn't a conclusion derived from the function of neuro-peptides but rather from the existence of the human nervous system as a whole and neuro-anatomical studies of the brainstem.
Good to see ya, Deslaar . I don't think I've seen any of your posts yet, in the new PFs.
Well, I guess what you said makes sense, but I still don't know what the big hype is about Neuro-peptides, if they are just simple neurotransmitters. What exactly is their function in the body?
>>but I still don't know what the big hype is about Neuro-peptides
I wasn't aware there was a big hype. :) Some neuropeptides, like oxytocin&vasoperessin for example, act as hormones throughout the body in addition to being neurotransmitters..
Peptides are anti-bodies embedded in biomembranes, which constitute the protective envelope of all living cells. Their function is to selectively react with specific molecules. The specific molecules are of course the key signature molecules of bacteria or drugs.
Antimicrobial peptides combat invading bacteria. Cationic amphiphilic peptides bind to bacterial membranes and cause their disintegration.
I only know this because peptides in the context of nanotechnology and biophysics was the topic of last weeks physics seminar here.
Thanks for the input, eNtRopY!
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