Therapeutic uses of somatostatin and its analogues: Current view and potential applications

Uma Rai, Thilini R. Thrimawithana, Celine Valery, Simon A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Somatostatin is an endogeneous cyclic tetradecapeptide hormone that exerts multiple biological activities via five ubiquitously distributed receptor subtypes. Classified as a broad inhibitory neuropeptide, somatostatin has anti-secretory, anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effects. The clinical use of native somatostatin is limited by a very short half-life (1 to 3 min) and the broad spectrum of biological responses. Thus stable, receptor-selective agonists have been developed. The majority of these somatostatin therapeutic agonists bind strongly to two of the five receptor subtypes, although recently an agonist of wider affinity has been introduced. Somatostatin agonists are established in the treatment of acromegaly with recently approved indications in the therapy of neuroendocrine tumours. Potential therapeutic uses for somatostatin analogues include diabetic complications like retinopathy, nephropathy and obesity, due to inhibition of IGF-1, VEGF together with insulin secretion and effects upon the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Wider uses in anti-neoplastic therapy may also be considered and recent studies have further revealed anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects. This review provides a comprehensive, current view of the biological functions of somatostatin and potential therapeutic uses, informed by the wide range of pharmacological advances reported since the last published review in 2004 by P. Dasgupta. The pharmacology of somatostatin receptors is explained, the current uses of somatostatin agonists are discussed, and the potential future of therapeutic applications is explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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