A method was developed for mass spectrometric detection of neurotensin (NT)-like immunoreactivity and quantification of NT in human brain tissue. The method is based on immunoprecipitation followed by analysis using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). The identity of the major component of the immunoprecipitates as neurotensin was confirmed by fragment ion analysis on an electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight instrument. MALDI-TOF-MS quantification of NT was achieved using stable-isotope-labeled NT as the internal standard, yielding an error of less than 5%. The method allowed detection of low-femtomole amounts of NT, staring from low-milligram amounts of lyophilized brain tissue. In addition to NT, several other peptides were detected in the purified samples, most of which, according to their molecular masses, corresponded to fragments of NT. The method is demonstrated with quantification of NT from human hypothalamus tissue, and a comparison is made with results obtained from competitive radioimmunoassay.