A series of very potent derivatives of the 30-amino acid peptide hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is described. The compounds were all derivatized with fatty acids in order to protract their action by facilitating binding to serum albumin. GLP-1 had a potency (EC(50)) of 55 pM for the cloned human GLP-1 receptor. Many of the compounds had similar or even higher potencies, despite quite large substituents. All compounds derivatized with fatty acids equal to or longer than 12 carbon atoms were very protracted compared to GLP-1 and thus seem suitable for once daily administration to type 2 diabetic patients. A structure-activity relationship was obtained. GLP-1 could be derivatized with linear fatty acids up to the length of 16 carbon atoms, sometimes longer, almost anywhere in the C-terminal part without considerable loss of potency. Derivatization with two fatty acid substituents led to a considerable loss of potency. A structure-activity relationship on derivatization of specific amino acids generally was obtained. It was found that the longer the fatty acid, the more potency was lost. Simultaneous modification of the N-terminus (in order to obtain better metabolic stability) interfered with fatty acid derivatization and led to loss of potency.