Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), characterised by non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) with an early age of onset, is a genetically heterogeneous disorder. In most MODY kindreds described in France, chronic hyperglycaemia is caused by mutations in the gene encoding pancreatic beta-cell and liver glucokinase (GCK). We here report the beta-cell secretory profiles of nine patients from four GCK-linked MODY kindreds. First-phase insulin secretion assessed by an intravenous glucose test was comparable in patients and seven controls. However, beta-cell secretory response to continuous glucose stimulus during a hyperglycaemic glucose clamp was significantly reduced: mean plasma insulin values of 12 (SD 7) vs 40 (11) mU/l (p = 0.0001) and mean plasma C-peptide values 1.20 (0.30) vs 2.61 (0.37) (p = 0.0001). This secretory profile is different from those for NIDDM with late age of onset or MODY not linked to GCK. Fasting plasma insulin and C-peptide in patients were inappropriately low in relation to concomitant plasma glucose level. Furthermore, during a hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp, endogenous insulin secretion at euglycaemia (5 mmol/l) was suppressed in patients but not in controls. These results suggest that mutant GCK may lead to chronic hyperglycaemia by raising the threshold of circulating glucose level which induces insulin secretion. These data provide the first demonstration of a primary pancreatic secretory defect associated with a form of NIDDM.