The response of the islet amyloid polypeptide gene to chronic dexamethasone treatment in adult rats was investigated. After 12 daily injections, rats were severely underweight and fasting blood glucose levels were elevated. When pancreatic mRNA was analysed, a 16-fold elevation in islet amyloid polypeptide mRNA was observed with only a four-fold increase in insulin mRNA levels. Pancreatic islet amyloid polypeptide and insulin mRNA levels were also determined 12 days after streptozotocin treatment. In these rats, which were not severely diabetic, the reduction in islet amyloid polypeptide mRNA levels was sixfold less than the reduction in insulin mRNA levels. In both these models of diabetes the ratio of islet amyloid polypeptide to insulin mRNA levels was raised. This would not be expected if the physiological role of islet amyloid polypeptide is as a simple hyperglycaemic agent opposing insulin action or release.