To investigate the effects of stimulant interactions on alpha- and beta-cell secretions, the differential effects of gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) and cholinergic stimulation (CS) on insulin (IRI) and glucagon (IRG) release were examined during euglycemic, single-pass perfusion in the isolated human pancreas. Pancreata obtained from 12 cadaver organ donors were perfused for 15-min test periods with (a) 1 nM GIP (b) intrinsic CS via bipolar electrical stimulation (10 V, 5 msec, 10 Hz) of the splanchnic neural fibers during simultaneous perfusion with 4 microM phentolamine and 6 microM propranolol, or (c) GIP and CS. The integrated response of IRI and IRG demonstrated that IRI release was stimulated 308 +/- 52 microU/g-min by GIP, 366 +/- 73 microU/g-min by CS, and 560 +/- 50 microU/g-min by GIP and CS (P less than 0.05). IRG release was stimulated 111 +/- 33 pg/g-min by GIP, 34 +/- 12 pg/g-min by CS, and 90 +/- 36 pg/g-min by GIP and CS. Combined hormonal and cholinergic stimulation was additive for IRI release, but not for IRG release. We conclude that the interaction of neural and hormonal islet cell stimuli is cell-type specific. This may result in selective impairment of hormone release after pancreatic denervation.