Diarginylinsulin is an intermediate in the conversion of proinsulin to insulin and is usually present in small amounts in vivo in humans. This study was designed to evaluate the following in insulin-treated type II diabetic patients: (1) the feasibility of an overnight intravenous infusion of diarginylinsulin, as compared with an overnight intravenous infusion of short-acting insulin, and the degree of early morning glycemic control; and (2) the effects of diarginylinsulin and human insulin on hepatic glucose production (HGO) in the postabsorptive state and on the glucose turnover rate and peripheral insulin sensitivity during an euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. Diarginylinsulin and regular human insulin maintained a comparable degree of normoglycemia during the night, without significant glucose increases in the morning. Free-diarginylinsulin and free-insulin concentrations were not significantly different, and (HGO) was 2.1 +/- 0.5 versus 2.1 +/- 0.4 mg/kg/min with diarginylinsulin and regular human insulin, respectively (NS). During the euglycemic clamp, glucose infusion rate per unit of diarginylinsulin or human insulin infused (M/I ratio) was similar, and HGO was equally suppressed with diarginylinsulin and regular human insulin. No significant differences were seen in NEFA and triglyceride levels. In conclusion, these results indicate that diarginylinsulin is as potent as regular human insulin; it is normalizes HGO in the postabsorptive state; and its hepatic and peripheral actions on glucose and lipids are comparable to those of human insulin during an euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp.