Somatostatin in Clinical Endocrinology

  • W. W. de Herder
  • S. W. J. Lamberts
Conference paper


The small cyclic peptide hormone, somatostatin (ss), is present in the human body in two molecular forms: somatostatin-14 (consisting of 14 amino acids) and somatostatin-28 (28 amino acids). It exerts diverse biologic effects through interaction with specific somatostatin receptors (ssts) in its target tissues. Ss acts as an inhibitor of endocrine and exocrine secretory processes, neurotransmission and as an immune modulation (Lamberts et al., 1996). Ssts belong to the family of G-protein coupled receptors, which characteristically consist of a single polypeptide chain with seven transmembrane spanning domains: extracellular domains with ligand binding sites and intracellular domains with sites linked to the activation of second messengers. At present, five different human sst subtypes (sst1, sst2, sst3, sst4, and sst5) have been cloned and characterised (Patel, 1999). Ssts are encoded by five different genes, each with a distinct chromosomal localization. Although the different sst subtypes are 40% to 60% structurally homologous, each sst subtype mediates different biologic actions of somatostatin. The inhibitory effects of somatostatin or its analogs, mediated via ssts, are linked with several intra-cellular systems: inhibition of adenylyl cyclase, resulting in a decrease in the intracellular cyclic AMP levels; reduction of Ca2+ influxes, resulting in reduced intracellular Ca2+ levels; and, in a number of tissues, stimulation of tyrosine phosphatase activity.


Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Clinical Endocrinology Islet Cell Tumor Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumor Medullary Thyroid Cancer Cell 


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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. W. de Herder
  • S. W. J. Lamberts

There are no affiliations available

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