Somatostatin is a peptide that has anticholeretic properties in the dog. The purpose of the present work was to investigate if somatostatin is an anticholeretic agent in humans also. The effects of intravenous infusion of somatostatin on hepatic bile flow and biliary electrolytes and secretion of biliary lipids were studied in 7 patients with complete biliary drainage who had been operated on for choledocholithiasis. Somatostatin, 250 microgram/h, was found to decrease the hepatic bile secretion by approximately 30%. The peptide also reduced the outputs of bile acids, cholesterol, and phospholipids and the outputs of sodium, potassium, and chloride. The concentrations of the biliary lipids were not significantly changed. Somatostatin inhibited the erythritol clearance in the 2 patients studied by approximately 25%. The present study thus provides evidence that somatostatin inhibits bile formation in humans. It appears as if the reduction in bile production is mainly due to decreased canalicular bile flow. It is possible that this effect of somatostatin is attributable to inhibition of bile acid synthesis or of transport-secretion of bile acids, or both.