Somatostatin (SST) potently inhibits insulin and glucagon release from pancreatic islets. Five distinct membrane receptors (SSTR1-5) for SST are known, and at least two (SSTR2 and SSTR5) have been proposed to regulate pancreatic endocrine function. Our current understanding of SST physiology is limited by the receptor subtype selectivity of peptidyl SST analogs, making it difficult to assign a physiological function to an identified SST receptor subtype. To better understand the physiology of SSTRs we studied the in vitro effects of potent subtype-selective nonpeptidyl SST analogs on the regulation of pancreatic glucagon and insulin secretion in wild-type (WT) and in somatostatin receptor 2 knockout (SSTR2KO) mice. There was no difference in basal glucagon and insulin secretion between islets isolated from SSTR2KO and WT mice; however, potassium/arginine-stimulated glucagon secretion was approximately 2-fold higher in islets isolated from SSTR2KO mice. Neither SST nor any SSTR-selective agonist inhibited basal glucagon or insulin release. SST-14 potently inhibited stimulated glucagon secretion in islets from WT mice and much less effectively in islets from SSTR2KO mice. The SSTR2 selective analog L-779,976 inhibited glucagon secretion in islets from WT, but was inactive in islets from SSTR2KO mice. L-817,818, an SSTR5 selective analog, slightly reduced glucagon release in both animal groups, whereas SSTR1, -3, and -4 selective analogs were inactive. SST and L-817,818 inhibited glucose stimulated insulin release in islets from WT and SSTR2KO mice. L-779,976 much less potently reduced insulin secretion from WT islets. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that SST inhibition of glucagon release in mouse islets is primarily mediated via SSTR2, whereas insulin secretion is regulated primarily via SSTR5.