The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, of metformin, and of the combination of the two agents, on incretin hormone concentrations. Active and inactive (or total) incretin plasma concentrations, plasma DPP-4 activity, and preproglucagon (GCG) gene expression were determined after administration of each agent alone or in combination to mice with diet-induced obesity (DIO) and to healthy human subjects. In mice, metformin increased Gcg expression in the large intestine and elevated the plasma concentrations of inactive glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) (9-36) and glucagon. In healthy subjects, a DPP-4 inhibitor elevated both active GLP-1 and glucose dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), metformin increased total GLP-1 (but not GIP), and the combination resulted in additive increases in active GLP-1 plasma concentrations. Metformin did not inhibit plasma DPP-4 activity either in vitro or in vivo. The study results show that metformin is not a DPP-4 inhibitor but rather enhances precursor GCG expression in the large intestine, resulting in increased total GLP-1 concentrations. DPP-4 inhibitors and metformin have complementary mechanisms of action and additive effects with respect to increasing the concentrations of active GLP-1 in plasma.