Growth hormone (GH) secretion is blunted in diabetic rats. In the present experiment we observed that pituitary GH concentrations and the plasma GH response to an exogenous dose of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is decreased in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (p < 0.02) with respect to normal rats. In an attempt to determine if increased somatostatin (SRIF) secretion is responsible for the decreased GH secretion, we studied the effect of modulating SRIF tone on the GH response to GHRH in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Rats were pretreated with either normal sheep serum and saline (NSS + SAL), somatostatin antibodies (SRIF-Ab), or pyridostigmine (PD), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor hypothesized to reduce hypothalamic SRIF secretion. Pretreatment of normal rats with SRIF-Ab or PD resulted in an increased GH response to exogenous GHRH in comparison to NSS + SAL-pretreated normal rats at 5 min postinjection. In contrast, pretreatment of diabetic rats with SRIF-Ab or PD did not alter the GH response to exogenous GHRH when compared to NSS + SAL-pretreated diabetic animals. These results suggest that the blunted GH response to exogenous GHRH observed in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats may not be due to an increase of endogenous SRIF tone.