Neurotensin in reward processes

Neuropharmacology. 2020 May 1;167:108005. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108005. Epub 2020 Feb 11.


Neurotensin (NTS) is a neuropeptide neurotransmitter expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Many studies over the years have revealed a number of roles for this neuropeptide in body temperature regulation, feeding, analgesia, ethanol sensitivity, psychosis, substance use, and pain. This review provides a general survey of the role of neurotensin with a focus on modalities that we believe to be particularly relevant to the study of reward. We focus on NTS signaling in the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, lateral hypothalamus, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and central amygdala. Studies on the role of NTS outside of the ventral tegmental area are still in their relative infancy, yet they reveal a complex role for neurotensinergic signaling in reward-related behaviors that merits further study. This article is part of the special issue on 'Neuropeptides'.

Keywords: Alcohol; Dopamine; Feeding; NTSR1; NTSR2; Neurotensin; Reward; Substance use disorder.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Neurotensin / metabolism*
  • Reward*
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / metabolism*


  • Neurotensin