Effects of constant and pulsatile i.v. insulin delivery were examined in seven healthy subjects by means of euglycemic clamp technique. Each subject received constant insulin infusion (0.175 mU/kg.min) or insulin pulses at 12-min intervals (2.1 mU/kg) in randomized order for 8-h periods (08.00-16.00 h). Endogenous secretion of insulin was inhibited by concomitant administration of somatostatin (300 micrograms/h). Serum insulin concentrations during constant infusion (12 +/- 1 microU/ml) did not differ from basal values (11 +/- 1 microU/ml). Pulsatile insulin delivery resulted in oscillations of mean concentrations between values of about 10 and 20 microU/ml. Mean blood glucose concentrations during experiments were kept at 80 +/- 1 mg/dl, irrespective of the mode of insulin administration. Moreover, dextrose requirements for maintenance of these glucose concentrations did not differ over the hole periods of examination. We conclude that effects of constant and pulsatile delivery of basal amounts of insulin are not different. This at least applies to peripheral, short-term insulin administration in somatostatin-treated normal man, during an euglycemic clamp.