Using both cross-sectional and longitudinal methods, we investigated the relationship between post-load serum glucose concentration in a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and overall glycaemic state in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Glycaemic state was assessed by measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and the serum concentration of 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG). In the cross-sectional study, the concentration of 1,5-AG, while remaining within a normal range, was reduced to a degree proportional to the post-load glycaemic level. Although the correlation between HbA1c and post-load plasma glucose was relatively weak (r=0.281, P<0.001), a significant inverse correlation (r=-0.824, P<0.0001) was found between 1,5-AG and mean post-load plasma glucose concentration in 211 subjects with IGT. Fasting plasma glucose (r=-0.539, P<0.0001) and 2 h plasma glucose (r=-0.621, P<0.0001) were correlated with 1,5-AG less strongly than was post-load glycaemia. Both 1,5-AG and HbA1c were correlated weakly but significantly with the fasting insulin concentration. In the longitudinal study we measured 1,5-AG and mean post-load plasma glucose with an OGTT once yearly for 10 years in 15 subjects with IGT. Strong inverse correlations were seen between 1,5-AG and mean post-load plasma glucose in each subject (range of r values among subjects of -0.584 to -0.978). These findings suggest a close relationship between post-load plasma glucose concentration measured by OGTT and overall glycaemic state in subjects with IGT.