The role of neurotensin in physiologic and pathologic processes

W. Conan Mustain, Piotr G. Rychahou, B. Mark Evers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Neurotensin is a 13-amino acid peptide found in the central nervous system central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Since its initial discovery in 1973, neurotensin has been shown to play a role in a wide range of physiologic and pathologic processes throughout the body. Ongoing research efforts continue to clarify the role of neurotensin in various central nervous system and gastrointestinal processes, as well as how disruption of these normal mechanisms may lead to diseases ranging from schizophrenia to colorectal cancer. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of the most recent advances in the field of neurotensin research, in the context of what has been previously published. Recent Findings: Because of the seemingly unrelated functions of neurotensin in the central nervous system and the periphery, the scope of the articles reviewed is rather broad. Contributions continue to be made to our understanding of the downstream effects of neurotensin signaling and the complex feedback loops between neurotensin and other signaling molecules. By selective targeting or blockade of specific neurotensin receptors, investigators have identified potential drugs for use in the treatment of schizophrenia, alcoholism, chronic pain, or cancer. Neurotensin-based pharmacologic agents are being used successfully in animal models for a number of these conditions. Summary: The review highlights the wide array of biological processes in which neurotensin has a role, and summarizes the most recent advances in various fields of neurotensin research. The knowledge gained through this research has led to the development of first-in-class drugs for the treatment of various medical conditions, and it is clear that in the coming years some of these agents will be ready to move from the bench to the bedside in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Cancer
  • NTS1
  • NTS2
  • dopamine
  • neurotensin
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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