Encyclopedia of Pathology

Living Edition
| Editors: J.H.J.M. van Krieken


  • Anna Maria ChiaravalliEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28845-1_5092-1




Neurotensin is a neuroendocrine peptide of 13 amino acids involved in gastrointestinal motility, pancreatic exocrine secretion, glucose homeostasis, and cell proliferation. As central neurotransmitter it plays a role in thought disorders, addiction, and pain.


Neurotensin was first isolated from bovine hypothalamus by Carraway and Leeman in 1978, and later in human and animal gastrointestinal tracts. The peptide was named after its presence in neural tissue and its hypotensive effect in rats. Its physiological function is to act as neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and as a hormone peripherally.

It is encoded by the NTS gene, located on chromosome 12 (12q21.31), as a prepropeptide of 170 aa, which contains an N-terminal signal peptide, the “large” neuromedin N sequence from amino acids 24 to 148, and neurotensin from amino acids 151 to 163 (Gribble et al. 2018). NT peptide (1–13) is cleaved during or soon after secretion, resulting in the...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Blackburn, A. M., Bryant, M. G., Adrian, T. E., & Bloom, S. R. (1981). Pancreatic tumours produce neurotensin. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 52, 820–822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Capella, C., Riva, C., Rindi, G., Sessa, F., Usellini, L., Chiaravalli, A., Carnevali, L., & Solcia, E. (1991). Histopathology, hormone products, and clinicopathological profile of endocrine tumors of the upper small intestine: A study of 44 cases. Endocrine Pathol, 2, 92–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gribble, F. M., Reimann, F., & Roberts, G. P. (2018). Gastrointestinal hormones. In H. M. Said (Ed.), Physiology of the gastrointestinal tract (6th ed., pp. 31–70). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Liddle, R. A. (2018). Gastrointestinal hormones. In H. M. Said (Ed.), Physiology of the gastrointestinal tract (6th ed., pp. 895–929). Cambridge, MA: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Polak, J. M., Sullivan, S. N., Bloom, S. R., et al. (1977). Specific localisation of neurotensin to the N cell in human intestine by radioimmunoassay and immunocytochemistry. Nature, 270, 183–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Qiu, S., Pellino, G., Fiorentino, F., Rasheed, S., Darzi, S., Tekkis, P., & Kontovounisios, K. (2017). A review of the role of neurotensin and its receptors in colorectal cancer. Gastroenterol Res and Pract, 2017, 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Solcia, E., Usellini, L., Buffa, R., Rindi, G., Villano, L., Zampatti, C., & Silini, E. (1987). Endocrine cells producing regulatory peptides. Experientia, 43, 839–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Vella, A. (2016). Gastrointestinal hormones and gut endocrine tumors. In M. Melmo, K. S. Polonsky, P. R. Larsen, & H. M. Kronenberg (Eds.), Williams textbook of endocrinology (13th ed., pp. 1701–1722). Philadelphia: Elsevier.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyASST Sette LaghiVareseItaly