Novel modalities of somatostatin actions

Published on Wednesday, 01 January 2014


The first part of this contribution reviews the current knowledge about endocrine and neuromodulatory actions of somatostatin.

These biological actions are exerted according to endocrine, paracrine and autocrine modes of action and involve five distinct types of membrane receptors belonging to the 'super-family' of G-protein-coupled receptors.

A new concept concerning a juxtacrine mode of action has recently been introduced to refer to the intervention of cytokines and growth factors in direct, cell-to-cell communication.

The evidence in favor of juxtacrine actions of somatostatin will be presented in the second part of this review and illustrated by our own results on macrophage-lymphocyte T interactions in the immune system and spermatogonia-Sertoli cell interactions in mammalian testis.

Another phenomenon such as ligand-induced somatostatin receptor homo- and hetero-dimerization resulting in 'poly'-receptors (with characteristics different from those of each of the two receptors forming the complex) is also at the origin of a novel mode of somatostatin action.

The latter will be illustrated by the data obtained on human pituitary adenomas with somatostatin analogs specific for either 'poly'-receptor or relevant individual receptors.

The arguments in favor of the analogous mode of actions among different families of chemical messengers such as peptides, cytokines and growth factors are discussed in the concluding section.

The emerging unifying concepts on such functional analogies might provide a useful basis for the development of synthetic analogs not only for bioactive peptides but also for other types of chemical messengers.



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