Role of central neurotensin in regulating feeding: Implications for the development and treatment of body weight disorders

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018 Mar;1864(3):900-916. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.12.036. Epub 2017 Dec 27.


The peptide neurotensin (Nts) was discovered within the brain over 40years ago and is implicated in regulating analgesia, body temperature, blood pressure, locomotor activity and feeding. Recent evidence suggests, however, that these disparate processes may be controlled via specific populations of Nts neurons and receptors. The neuronal mediators of Nts anorectic action are now beginning to be understood, and, as such, modulating specific Nts pathways might be useful in treating feeding and body weight disorders. This review considers mechanisms through which Nts normally regulates feeding and how disruptions in Nts signaling might contribute to the disordered feeding and body weight of schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, anorexia nervosa, and obesity. Defining how Nts specifically mediates feeding vs. other aspects of physiology will inform the design of therapeutics that modify body weight without disrupting other important Nts-mediated physiology.

Keywords: Anorexia; Dopamine; Energy balance; Neurotensin receptor; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite Regulation* / genetics
  • Body Weight / genetics
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / genetics*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurotensin / genetics
  • Neurotensin / metabolism
  • Neurotensin / physiology*
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Overweight / genetics*
  • Overweight / metabolism


  • Neurotensin