, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 597-614


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1. Somatostatin (SRIF) exerts diverse physiological actions in the body including regulation of hormone and neurotransmitter release and neuronal firing activity. Analogs of SRIF are used clinically to treat tumors and cancers and to block the hypersecretion of growth hormone in acromegaly.

2. The recent cloning of five SRIF receptor subtypes has allowed for the identification of the molecular basis of the cellular actions of SRIF. The ligand binding domains and regions involved in coupling to G proteins and cellular effector systems are being identified and the processes by which SRIF inhibits cell growth and proliferation are being established. Furthermore, subtype selective agonists have been generated which are being used to investigate the specific biological roles of each SRIF receptor subtypes.

3. Such information will be useful in developing a new generation of SRIF drugs that could be employed to treat metabolic diseases, disorders of the gut, cancer and abnormalities in the central nervous system such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.