Neuron specific enolase is found in elevated concentrations in plasma and certain neoplasias. These include pediatric neuroblastoma and small cell lung cancer.
Neuron specific enolase (NSE) converts 2-phosphoglycerate to phosphoenolpyruvate in the glycolytic pathway, and the reverse reaction in gluconeogenesis. It is one of three mammalian enolases, which are also known as ENO1, ENO2, and ENO3 or as enolase alpha, beta and gamma. The three enolases have different cell type specific expression patterns, so that antibodies to them are useful cell type specific markers. NSE corresponds to ENO2 or enolase gamma and is heavily expressed in neuronal cells. Neurons require a great deal of energy and have high levels of glycolytic enzymes such as NSE. Antibodies to this NSE are useful for identifications of neuronal cell bodies, developing neuronal lineage and neuroendocrine cells. Release of NSE from damaged neurons into CSF and blood has also been used as a biomarker of neuronal injury.
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