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Somatostatin is a 14 amino acid peptide, originally isolated from the hypothalamus, with the following functions:

  • inhibition of growth hormone release - secreted into the hypophyseal portal blood, with action at the anterior pituitary
  • hormonal role in the gastrointestinal system - produced particularly in the pancreas, reducing hormonal and intestinal secretions
  • reduces tumour secretion of VIP and 5-HT
  • reduces TSH secretion but has no direct effect on release of hormones from the thyroid gland

Side effects of therapeutic use of somatostatin analogues, for example in the treatment of acromegaly include disordered gut motility and impaired absorption, which may result in steatorrhoea.

Last reviewed 01/2018