Diarrhea is a common manifestation of gastrointestinal disorders. Diarrhea-induced losses of fluid and electrolyte could lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality, especially in children living in developing countries. Somatostatin, a peptide hormone secreted by D-cells, plays an important role in regulating motility and intestinal Na(+) absorption. Although octreotide, a somatostatin analog, is used to treat diarrhea, its mechanisms of action are unclear. Here we showed that octreotide increased brush-border membrane Na(+)/H(+) exchanger 8 (NHE8) expression in the small intestine to the exclusion of other NHEs that participate in Na(+) absorption. The same effect also occurred in human intestinal cells (Caco-2). We found that the increase of NHE8 expression by somatostatin required p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation. Furthermore, the somatostatin receptor SSTR2 antagonist CYN154806 could abolish somatostatin-induced NHE8 expression and p38 MAPK phosphorylation. Thus our data provided the first concrete evidence indicating that somatostatin stimulates intestinal Na(+) absorption by increasing intestinal NHE8 expression through the SSTR2-p38 MAPK pathway.