This study characterises the somatostatin binding site in human gastrointestinal cancer and mucosa in terms of cationic specificity and relative affinity for three somatostatin analogues. Competitive displacement assays were performed on plasma membranes from human gastric and colonic tissues using radiolabelled somatostatin-14 as ligand. Comparison was made with the somatostatin binding site in rat cerebral cortex. In gastrointestinal tissue, magnesium decreased and sodium increased specific binding. By contrast, in rat cerebral cortex, the converse cationic effect was seen. These changes resulted from alterations in receptor density, with no change in receptor affinity. Displacement studies were then performed with somatostatin-14 and somatostatin analogues RC-160, somatuline, and octreotide. RC-160 and somatuline displaced radiolabel from binding sites in gastric and colonic cancer and mucosa with 10-fold lower affinity than the native peptide. Octreotide did not displace radioligand in gastric or colonic cancer at any concentration tested. By contrast, in rat cortex, although all three analogues displaced with a lower affinity than the native peptide, there was no difference between analogues. These data suggest a distinct somatostatin receptor subtype in gastrointestinal tissues.
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