Neuron specific enolase (NSE)

Author: Kara Hamilton, M.S. (see Authors page)

Revised: 16 November 2015, last major update June 2009

Copyright: (c) 2002-2015,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Neuron specific enolase [title]

Definition / General
  • Cytoplasmic enzyme expressed by neuroendocrine cells and tumors, including poorly differentiated neuroendocrine tumors, which usually are negative for other neuroendocrine markers
  • Despite its name, is often not specific for neuroendocrine cells / tumors
  • Enolases are widely distributed glycolytic enzymes that catalyze the interconversion of 2-phosphoglycerate and phosphophenolpyruvate
  • NSE refers to the gamma-gamma and alpha-gamma isoenzymes preferentially found in neurons and neuroendocrine cells
Micro Images
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Positive Staining - Normal
  • Neurons, neuroendocrine cells
Positive Staining - Disease
  • Neuroectodermal and neuroendocrine neoplasms
  • Melanomas