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Other names Orphanin FQ
CAS number 170713-75-4
PubChem 16131448
MeSH nociceptin
Molecular formula C79H129N27O22
Molar mass 1809.04
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references
Symbol PNOC
Entrez 5368
HUGO 9163
OMIM 601459
RefSeq NM_006228
UniProt Q13519
Other data
Locus Chr. 8 p21

Nociceptin or orphanin FQ, a 17 amino acid neuropeptide, is the endogenous ligand for the nociceptin receptor (NOP, ORL-1). It is derived from the prepronociceptin protein, as are a further 2 peptides, nocistatin & NocII.[1] The gene coding for prepronociceptin is located on Ch8p21 in humans.[2]

Nociceptin is an opioid-related peptide, but it does not act at the classic opioid receptors and its actions are not antagonized by the opioid antagonist naloxone. Nociceptin is a potent anti-analgesic. Nociceptin is widely distributed in the CNS; it is found in many regions of the hypothalamus, brainstem, and forebrain, as well as in the ventral horn and dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Nociceptin acts at the Nociceptin receptor (NOP1), formerly known as ORL-1. The receptor is also widely distributed in the brain, including in the cortex, anterior olfactory nucleus, lateral septum, hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, central gray, pontine nuclei, interpeduncular nucleus, substantia nigra, raphe complex, locus coeruleus, and spinal cord.

The N/OFQ-NOP system is found in central and peripheral nervous tissue, where it is well placed to modulate nociception.[2] Indeed, there is some evidence that nociceptin may be involved in the phenomenon of opioid-induced hyperalgesia.[3]


  1. ^ Okuda-Ashitaka E, Minami T, Tachibana S, Yoshihara Y, Nishiuchi Y, Kimura T, Ito S. "Nocistatin, a peptide that blocks nociceptin action in pain transmission." Nature. 1998 Mar 19; 392(6673):286-9. PMID 9521323
  2. ^ a b Mollereau C, Simons MJ, Soularue P, Liners F, Vassart G, Meunier JC, Parmentier M. "Structure, tissue distribution, and chromosomal localization of the prepronociceptin gene." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 1996 Aug 6; 93(16):8666-70. PMID 8710928
  3. ^ Pan ZZ, Hirakawa N, Fields HL. "A cellular mechanism for the bidirectional pain-modulating actions of orphanin FQ/nociceptin." Neuron. 2000 May; 26(2):515-22. PMID 10839369

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