Changes of somatostatin concentration in response to a single i.v. injection of arginine (400 mg/kg body weight) were examined in extracted portal plasma of normal and diabetic rats in the fully fed state and after 24 h of fasting, as well as in diabetic rats treated with insulin for one week. In both normal and diabetic animals fasted for 24 h, the basal level of somatostatin declined but the magnitude of the arginine-induced elevation of somatostatin was not affected, suggesting a physiologic role of the tetradecapeptide in nutrient homeostasis.
When compared with intact rats, diabetic animals were shown to have increased levels of somatostatin before and after arginine administration, both of which were attenuated by insulin replacement therapy. These findings suggest that alterations of D cell function in streptozotocin diabetes may be related to either insulin deficiency or its metabolic consequences.