Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a susceptibility to beta-cell failure. However, subjects at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as those with obesity or a family history of diabetes, have been shown to display hyperinsulinemia. Although this hyperinsulinemia may be an adaptive response to insulin resistance, the possibility that insulin hypersecretion may be a primary defect has not been thoroughly investigated. The DBA/2 mouse is a model of pancreatic islet susceptibility. Unlike the resistant C57BL/6 mouse strain, the DBA/2 mouse islet fails when stressed with insulin resistance or when exposed to chronic high glucose concentrations. The aim of this study was to compare insulin secretory function in the DBA/2 and C57BL/6 strains in the absence of insulin resistance or high glucose. Insulin secretion was assessed in vivo using the iv glucose tolerance test and in vitro using isolated islets in static incubations. It was shown that DBA/2 mice hypersecreted insulin in vivo, compared with C57BL/6 mice, at 1 d and at 4 and 10 wk of age. This hypersecretion was not attributable to insulin resistance (as assessed by the insulin tolerance test) or increased parasympathetic nervous system outflow. Insulin hypersecretion was also demonstrated in vitro. This was associated with higher glycolysis and glucose oxidation, and elevated activity (but not protein levels) of islet glucokinase and hexokinase. Furthermore, GLUT2 protein levels were higher, which may explain an increase in glucokinase activity in DBA/2 mouse islets. In summary, the DBA/2 mouse, a model of islet failure, has increased glucose-mediated insulin secretion from a very early age, which is associated with an increase in glucose utilization. Further studies will determine whether there is a link between insulin hypersecretion and subsequent beta-cell failure.