The chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1alpha (SDF-1alpha) is a potent stimulator of T cell infiltration into three-dimensional type I collagen matrices as demonstrated using T cells freshly isolated from blood and an activated T cell clone. The neuropeptide somatostatin selectively inhibits SDF-1alpha induced T cell infiltration by the same T cells including CD4 as well as CD8 positive cells, while somatostatin does not inhibit 'spontaneous' T cell infiltration. A number of other neuropeptides and opioids do not inhibit SDF-1alpha-induced T cell infiltration, indicating that the inhibitory effect is somatostatin-specific. The neuropeptide antagonist cyclosomatostatin abrogated the inhibitory effect of somatostatin on T cell infiltration, indicating that the effect of somatostatin is mediated via specific somatostatin receptors. Somatostatin does not inhibit SDF-1alpha-induced T cell attachment to the collagen substrate, which indicates that this neuropeptide specifically inhibits the process of chemokine-induced T cell penetration and migration through the collagen.