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.
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
-based pharmacologic agents are being used successfully in animal models for a number of these conditions.
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.