Somatostatin is a peptide hormone
Peptide hormone
Peptide hormones are a class of peptides that are secreted into the blood stream and have endocrine functions in living animals.Like other proteins, peptide hormones are synthesized in cells from amino acids according to an mRNA template, which is itself synthesized from a DNA template inside the...

 that regulates the endocrine system
Endocrine system
In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. It derives from the Greek words "endo"...

 and affects neurotransmission
Neurotransmission , also called synaptic transmission, is the process by which signaling molecules called neurotransmitters are released by a neuron , and bind to and activate the receptors of another neuron...

 and cell proliferation via interaction with G-protein-coupled somatostatin receptors and inhibition of the release of numerous secondary hormones.

Somatostatin has two active forms produced by alternative cleavage of a single preproprotein: one of 14 amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

s, the other of 28 amino acids.

In all vertebrates, there exists six different somatostatin genes that have been named SS1, SS2, SS3, SS4, SS5, and SS6.