There is considerable evidence that somatostatin is released from nerve terminals throughout the central nervous system in response to presynaptic stimulation, thus suggesting a neuromodulator role for the peptide. We here report the partial characterization of immunoreactive somatostatin released from rat nervous system in vitro (hypothalamus, spinal cord and hypothalamic, cortical, thalamic and striatal synaptosomes). Serial dilutions of released somatostatin immunoreactivity showed parallelism with dilutions of synthetic somatostatin standard. Somatostatin immunoreactivity released from all tissue areas coeluted with synthetic tetradecapeptide on Sephadex G-25 (fine grade) gel chromatography; more than 85% of this immunoreactivity bound to Sepharose-anti-somatostatin-serum immunoaffinity columns. In addition, immunoreactive material released from hypothalamus, spinal cord and hypothalamic and cortical synaptosomes inhibited somatotropin (growth hormone, ‘STH’, ‘GH’) release from perifused anterior pituitary in a dose-related manner, indicating biological similarity to synthetic somatostatin.

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