We explored whether inhibition of the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV) increases endogenous levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and improves glucose tolerance and insulin secretion in mice. Glucose (150 mg) was administered through a gastric gavage with or without the inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase IV, valine-pyrrolidide (100 micromol/kg), in high-fat fed glucose intolerant or control C57BL/6J mice. The increase in plasma GLP-1 after gastric glucose was potentiated by dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibition (P<0.05). Valine-pyrrolidide also potentiated the plasma insulin response to gastric glucose and improved the glucose tolerance in both groups of mice (P<0.001). In contrast, valine-pyrrolidide did not affect glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from isolated islets. This suggests that valine-pyrrolidide improves insulin secretion and glucose tolerance through indirect action, probably through augmentation of levels of GLP-1 and other incretin hormones. Therefore, inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase IV activity is feasible to exploit as a treatment for glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.