Somatostatin (SS)-14 and SS28 are produced by pancreatic D cells and gut mucosa and inhibit pancreatic islet insulin and glucagon release. There are five distinct SS receptor (SSTR) subtypes, namely SSTR1-5, which show different affinities for SS14 and SS28. In order to identify the subtype responsible for inhibition of insulin release by human B cells, SSTR-selective SS analogs were tested in isolated human islets. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in human islets incubated for 1 hr at 20 mM glucose, and in islets cultured for 24 hr at a near-physiological (6.1 mM) glucose concentration, was inhibited (<50% of the control) by SSTR5-specific analogs and by SS14 and SS28. SS14, SS28, and different SSTR5 preferential analogs also inhibited islet amyloid polypeptide release during the 24-hr culture. On the other hand, a group of SSTR2-selective analogs failed to inhibit insulin release. Analysis by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction indicated that human islets express similar amounts of SSTR2 and SSTR5 mRNAs, while human pancreatic ductal cells express much lower levels of these mRNAs. In conclusion, our data suggest that SSTR5 is an important mediator of the insulin inhibitory action of SS in cultured human islets.