Immunoreactive and biologically active somatostatin in human and sheep milk

Haim WERNER, Tanchum AMARANT, Robert P. MILLAR, Mati FRIDKIN, Yitzhak KOCH*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of immunoreactive and biologically active somatostatin in sheep and human milk has been demonstrated. Milk somatostatin exhibits similar chromatographic behavior to that of synthetic somatostatin‐14 on both reversed‐phase C18 and cation‐exchange high‐performance liquid chromatography columns. Milk, in contrast to plasma, contains only somatostatin‐14‐like material. Milk somatostatin was capable of inhibiting the basal and the prostaglandin‐induced release of growth hormone from anterior pituitary cell cultures in a pattern similar to synthetic somatostatin‐14. The concentrations of the peptide, as determined by radioimmunoassay, were found to be 113pg/ml in human milk and 150 ± 4.8pg/ml (mean ± range) in sheep milk. These values are severalfold higher than the corresponding concentration of the peptide in the plasma of these species. These findings are analogous to our previous observations concerning two other hypothalamic hormones, luliberin and thyroliberin [Baram, T., Koch, Y., Hazum, E. and Fridkin, M. (1977) Science (Wash. DC) 198, 300–302]. The high concentration of somatostatin and other neuropeptides in milk implies either an active concentrating mechanism in the mammary gland or an additional extrahypothalamic source for the synthesis and release of these peptides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-357
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1985
Externally publishedYes


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