General Aspects of the Biology and Function of Somatostatin

  • Y. C. Patel
Part of the Basic and Clinical Aspects of Neuroscience book series (BASIC, volume 4)


Biological activity now recognizable as that of somatostatin (SS) was first encountered in 1968 by Krulich et al. [33] during attempts to screen hypothalamic extracts for growth hormone (GH) releasing activity. The workers identified a GH-inhibitory substance, characterized it as a low-molecular-weight basic peptide, and were able to localize the biological activity to the median eminence and anterior hypothalamic area. A year later, Hellman and Lernmark [23] reported the presence of a potent insulin-inhibitory factor in extracts of pigeon pancreatic islets. These two apparently unrelated observations were to come into sharp focus in 1973 with the discovery by Brazeau et al. [10] of the tetradecapeptide SS-14 as the hypothalamic GH-inhibitory substance, a signal achievement duly recognized by the award of the Nobel Prize to Guillemin in 1977. Subsequent studies revealed that SS is not produced only in the hypothalamus but also occurs throughout the central nervous system (CNS), in peripheral neurons, in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Furthermore, SS-like immunoreactivity is heterogeneous and is distributed in many tissues in both vertebrate and invertebrate species of the animal kingdom and in the plant kingdom. Extensive investigation of SS has shown that its wide anatomical distribution is paralleled by an equally broad spectrum of biological effects.


Growth Hormone Median Eminence Quinolinic Acid Growth Hormone Release Hormone Duodenal Somatostatinoma 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. C. Patel
    • 1
  1. 1.Fraser Laboratories, Departments of Medicine, Neurology, and NeurosurgeryMcGill University, Royal Victoria Hospital and Montreal Neurological InstituteMontrealCanada

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