D-Glucose transport was studied with isolated brush border membrane vesicles from guinea pig jejunum. Saturation curves were carried out at either 25 or 35 degrees C in buffers containing Na+, Li+, K+ (100 mM chloride salt), or sorbitol (200 mM). Uncorrected uptake rates were fitted by nonlinear regression analysis to an equation involving one diffusional and two saturable terms. In the presence of Na+ at 35 degrees C, two saturable systems (Km = 0.4 and 24 mM, respectively) were evident, as well as a diffusion component quantitatively identical with that measured with L-glucose in separate experiments. In contrast, at 25 degrees C only one saturable system was apparent (Km = 1.2 mM): the second exhibited diffusion-like kinetics. In the presence of Na+ at 35 degrees C, D-glucose uptake was fully inhibited by both D-glucose and D-galactose, whereas alpha-methylglucoside gave kinetics of partial inhibition. We conclude that in the presence of Na+ there are at least two distinct D-glucose transport systems: 1) System I, a low temperature-sensitive system, fully inhibited by D-glucose, D-galactose, and alpha-methylglucoside; we identify it as the "classical" D-glucose/Na+ cotransport system, insensitive to inhibition by cytochalasin B and obligatorily dependent on Na+; and 2) System II, a high temperature-sensitive system where D-glucose and D-galactose inhibit but alpha-methylglucoside is inert. Its cation specificity is unclear but it appears to be sensitive to cytochalasin B inhibition. When Li+ or K+ substituted for Na+, only one transport system was apparent. The Li+-activated transport was: independent of the incubation temperature; inhibited by D-glucose and D-galactose but not by alpha-methylglucoside, 2-deoxy-D-glucose, D-mannose, and D-xylose; and sensitive to cytochalasin B inhibition. The exact nature of the system (or systems) involved in D-glucose transport in the absence of sodium remains to be established.