Amylin is a 37-amino acid pancreatic polypeptide, probably involved in the pathophysiology of Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. We have determined amylin in human plasma by extraction-based radioimmunoassay (Sep-Pak C18). Of 23 healthy control subjects plasma amylin was determined as 11.9 +/- 3.5 ng/l. Of 27 patients with Type 2 diabetes receiving insulin the amylin levels were lower, and in 16 patients with Type 2 diabetes on oral medication they were higher than in the control subjects; 8.2 +/- 4.4 ng/l (p less than 0.01) vs 18.8 +/- 9.9 ng/l (p less than 0.05). In 14 Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients we found extremely low mean amounts of amylin: 2.9 +/- 1.9 ng/l (p less than 0.002). Thus, basal amylin appears to be associated with the capacity to release insulin. An oral glucose load stimulated the release of amylin, this was more pronounced in patients with Type 2 diabetes than in healthy subjects. An excellent correlation of mean amylin with mean insulin concentrations was obtained (r = 0.949). In patients with Type 2 diabetes amylin was reduced congruent to decreases in C-peptide during a hyperinsulinaemic, euglycaemic glucose clamp experiment (r = 0.971 for linear correlation between C-peptide levels and amylin). We conclude, that amylin and insulin are co-secreted in humans, and that the amylin release is under feedback-control by insulin.