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.
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