In type 2 diabetes (T2DM) beta-cell responsiveness to glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) is reduced. In a model of T2DM, the VDF Zucker rat, GIP receptor mRNA and protein levels were shown to be down-regulated. Possible restoration of responsiveness to GIP in Zucker rats by reducing hyperglycemia has been examined. ZDF rats with extreme hyperglycemia demonstrated greater islet GIP receptor mRNA down-regulation (94.3+/-3.8%) than ZF rats (48.8+/-22.8%). GIP receptor mRNA levels in ZDF rats returned to 83.0+/-17.9% of lean following normalization of hyperglycemia by phlorizin treatment and pancreas perfusions demonstrated markedly improved GIP responsiveness. Treatment of VDF rats with a DP IV inhibitor (P32/98) resulted in improved glucose tolerance and restored sensitivity to GIP in isolated pancreata. These findings support the proposal that GIP receptor down-regulation in rodent T2DM is secondary to chronic hyperglycemia and that normalization of glycemia can restore GIP sensitivity.