The optimal route for insulin administration by insulin infusion devices has not been established. To assess the differences between the peripheral venous and portal venous routes of insulin administration on postprandial metabolic responses, six alloxan-diabetic dogs were studied on four occasions. On the first, the insulin infusion rates given by the Biostator for disposal of a mixed meal were recorded electronically. On two subsequent occasions, these insulin infusion profiles were administered by a peripheral vein. On an additional occasion, the identical insulin infusion profile was given via the portal vein. No differences were observed in basal or peak plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon, branched chain amino acids, and lactate concentrations between portal and peripheral venous insulin administration. Furthermore, no differences in isotopically ( [2-3H]glucose) determined rates of systemic glucose appearance and disappearance were observed between the two routes. Although preprandial plasma alanine concentrations were greater when insulin was infused via the portal vein, the postprandial increments did not differ from those observed during infusion of insulin by a peripheral vein. These studies suggest that under the current experimental conditions, there appears to be no difference in the disposition of a mixed meal, measured as net whole body glucose appearance and disappearance rates, when insulin is administered in an open-loop fashion via either a peripheral or the portal vein.