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Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2000 Sep;33(2-3):228-41.

Cortistatin: a member of the somatostatin neuropeptide family with distinct physiological functions.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, 92037, La Jolla, CA, USA.


Cortistatin is a recently discovered neuropeptide relative of somatostatin named after its predominantly cortical expression and ability to depress cortical activity. Cortistatin-14 shares 11 of the 14 amino acids of somatostatin-14 yet their nucleotide sequences and chromosomal localization clearly indicate they are products of separate genes. Now cloned from human, mouse and rat sources, cortistatin is known to bind all five cloned somatostatin receptors and share many pharmacological and functional properties with somatostatin including the depression of neuronal activity. However, cortistatin also has many properties distinct from somatostatin including induction of slow-wave sleep, apparently by antagonism of the excitatory effects of acetylcholine on the cortex, reduction of locomotor activity, and activation of cation selective currents not responsive to somatostatin. Expression of mRNA encoding cortistatin follows a circadian rhythm and is upregulated on deprivation of sleep, suggesting cortistatin is a sleep modulatory factor. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of cortistatin, examines the similarities and differences between cortistatin and somatostatin, and asks the question: does cortistatin bind to a cortistatin-specific receptor?

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