Stains
Neuron specific enolase (NSE)



Topic Completed: 1 June 2009

Revised: 7 March 2019

Copyright: 2002-2015, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Neuron specific enolase [title]
Page views in 2018: 4,083
Page views in 2019 to date: 827
Cite this page: Hamilton K. Neuron specific enolase (NSE). PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/stainsNSE.html. Accessed May 21st, 2019.
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
Microscopic (histologic) images
Missing Image

Pheochromocytoma

Positive staining - normal
  • Neurons, neuroendocrine cells
Positive staining - disease
  • Neuroectodermal and neuroendocrine neoplasms
  • Melanomas
Back to top