The hyperglucagonemia that occurs in vivo in animals made diabetic with alloxan or streptozotocin is not suppressed by high glucose but is suppressed by exogenous insulin. These observations together with other studies suggested that insulin-dependent glucose transport and metabolism by the alpha-cells serves as the primary mechanism controlling glucagon secretion. This hypothesis was tested in the present investigation. The possible interactions between glucose, insulin, and a mixture of 20 amino acids at physiological proportions were examined in the isolated-perfusin diabetic rats. Release of insulin and glucagon were used as indicators of theta-cell and alpha-cell function. According to rigid criteria the diabetic animals entering the study were severely diabetic. It was found that in vitro: (a) basal glucagon release (measured in the absence of an alpha-cell stimulus or inhibitor) was extremely low, even lower (i.e. 10%) than the basal rates seen in controls; (b) the alpha-cells of alloxanized- and streptozotocin-treated rats responded with a biphasic glucagon release to stimulation by an amino acid mixture; (c) this alpha-cell response was reduced after both streptozotocin and alloxan; (d) glucose at 5 mM was a potent inhibitor of amino acid-induced glucagon secretion in both types of experimental diabetes; (e) in alloxan diabetes alpha-cell stimulation by amino acids can be curbed by exogenous insulin, whereas glucagon secretion by the perfused pancreas of streptoxotocin diabetic rats appeared to be resistant to insulin action. The data indicate that the modulation of glucagon secretion by glucose in vitro is indipendent of insulin and that other unknown factors extrinsic to the pancreatic islets are responsible for the hyperglucagonemia observed in vivo.