The role of somatostatins in the regulation of growth in fish

N. M. Very, Mark A. Sheridan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Somatostatins (SS) are a structurally diverse family of peptide hormones that affect various aspects of growth, development and metabolism in vertebrates. Fish have proved to be useful models for understanding the role(s) of SS in the regulation of growth. Organismal growth is inhibited by SS and fish with impaired growth (caused by fasting or premature transfer to seawater of anadromous species) display enhanced SS production and elevated plasma levels of the hormone. Somatostatins modulate growth at the level of the pituitary through the inhibition of growth hormone (GH) synthesis and secretion. There are, however, significant structure-function relationships with regard to GH inhibition. For example, while SS-14 is a potent inhibitor of GH secretion, catfish SS-22 and salmonid SS-25 appear not to have GH secretotropic effects. Somatostatins also have extra-pituitary effects on growth. For example, SS reduce GH binding capacity and inhibit IGF-I mRNA expression in the liver. In addition, SS inhibit insulin, another factor essential to organismal growth. Finally, SS interact with a variety of reproductive and metabolic processes - actions which suggest that SS help modulate energy partitioning among biological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalFish Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2002


  • Growth hormone
  • Growth regulation
  • Insulin-like growth factors
  • Somatostatins


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