Recent reports (Raynor et al) have claimed the identification of potent somatostatin (SST) agonists exhibiting binding affinities of 1-2 pM and up to 30,000 fold binding selectivity for several of the 5 cloned sstr subtypes. These conclusions, however, are based on binding comparisons of sstr subtypes from different species expressed in different cell lines and studied with different radioligands. To eliminate the effect of species and/or methodological variations, we have investigated agonist selectivity of 32 synthetic SST analogs for all 5 hsstrs stably expressed in CHO-K1 cells under identical binding conditions. We show that hsstr2, 3, 5 react potently with hexapeptide as well as cyclic and linear octapeptide analogs and belong to a similar sstr subclass. hsstr1 and 4 react poorly with these analogs and belong to a separate subclass. The present generation of SST analogs exhibit a modest-50 fold increase in binding potency compared to SST-14 for 2 subtypes (hsstr2, 3), and relative selectivity for only 1 subtype (hsstr2) which is at best only 35 fold. The potency and degree of selectivity of these analogs is several orders of magnitude less than that reported earlier and suggests the need for caution in using these compounds as putative superagonists or subtype selective compounds for any of the individual sstrs.