Background and Aims: The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a major source and target of somatostatin (SRIF). Recently, five pharmacologically different SRIF receptors (sst1-5) were cloned. The cellular and tissue distribution of the sst1-5 messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were studied in the rat Gl tract using in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH). Methods: Two sets of 35S-uridine triphosphate (UTP)-labeled antisense and sense riboprobes were prepared for each sst. ISHH was conducted on frozen tissue samples from rat stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, and pancreas. Results: mRNAs of all five sst-s are widely expressed in the rat GI tract. The distribution pattern for each sst mRNA was identical with both antisense probes. No specific signal was found with any of the sense probes. Each layer of the different parts of the gut expressed mRNAs of multiple sst subtypes. All organs expressed sst3 mRNA very intensely. The lowest levels of mRNA expression for all five subtypes within the GI tract were found in the pancreas. Conclusions: The widespread expression of sst mRNAs suggests a significant role for SRIF in the regulation of GI function.
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