Cortistatin (CST) is a recently described neuropeptide that shares high homology with somatostatin (somatotropin release-inhibiting factor, SRIF) and binds with high affinity to all somatostatin (sst) receptor subtypes. CST is currently known to have a widespread distribution in many human organs including the immune system. The activities specific to CST maybe partially attributable to its binding to the growth hormone secretagogue (GHS)-receptor (GHS-R) and the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor MrgX2. Human immune cells produce CST, whereas macrophage lineage and activated endothelium express sst2, and human lymphocytes express sst3. The human thymus expresses sst1, 2, 3, MrgX2 and almost all immune cells express GHS-R. Moreover, at this very moment promising research with CST in experimental animal models is being performed. On the basis of these promising results, studies aiming to further evaluate the possibilities of CST as a therapeutic agent in human immune-mediated inflammatory diseases are warranted. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.