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This term has been coined by Brantl et al (1986) for short opiod peptides derived from hemoglobin. These peptides are generated by enzymatic hydrolysis of the beta-chains, kappa-chains, delta-chains, or epsilon-chains of hemoglobin in vitro (Nyberg et al, 1997). They have been identified also as naturally occurring peptides in brain, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as extracts of normal adrenal tissue and pheochromocytoma tumors Cerpa-Poljak et al, 1997), lung tissues (Yatskin et al, 1998), and the bronchiolaval fluid of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (Duethman et al, 2000).

The peptides have been shown to bind and stimulate opiate receptors (Zhao et al, 1997; Nyberg et al, 1997).

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