The insulinotropic actions of two forms of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) containing 31 and 37 amino acid residues on perfused rat pancreas were compared with that of gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), hitherto the most potent intestinal insulinotropic polypeptide known. The smaller form, C-terminally amidated GLP-1-(7-36), strongly enhanced insulin secretion stimulated by 11.1 mM D-glucose at a concentration as low as 0.1 nM. Comparable effects of GIP and GLP-1-(1-37) on insulin secretion were observed at concentrations of 1.0 nM and 10.0 nM, respectively. At the doses tested, neither GLP-1s nor GIP had any effect on insulin secretion induced by 3.3 mM D-glucose. At a concentration of 1.0 nM, GLP-1-(7-36 amide) also enhanced insulin secretion induced by 5 mM L-arginine whereas at concentrations of up to 10.0 nM, GLP-1-(1-37) did not. The results show that the smaller form of GLP-1 is more strongly insulinotropic than GIP. These findings suggest that the smaller GLP-1 may have a physiologically more important role as a modulator of insulin release.