Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is promptly released from endocrine cells of the distal part of the gut after oral ingestion of a meal. To test the possibility that hormones produced by the proximal small intestine or transmitters of the enteric nervous system may be involved in the early phase of meal-induced GLP-1 secretion, various intestinal regulatory peptides and neurotransmitters of the gut were administered intraarterially in the isolated vascularly perfused rat colon preparation. The release of GLP-1 in the portal effluent was measured by a specific RIA. Intraarterial infusion of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) over the concentration range 0.25-1 nM evoked a dose-dependent release of GLP-1, with a maximal response of 350% of the basal value. Tetrodotoxin did not modify the GIP-induced release of GLP-1. Secretin or cholecystokinin did not stimulate the secretion of GLP-1. Bombesin (10(-9)-10(-7) M) provoked a dose-dependent release of GLP-1, consisting of an early peak, followed by a sustained response. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (5 x 10(-8) M) induced a dramatic rise of GLP-1 immunoreactivity in the portal effluent (peak at 800% of the basal value 10 min after the start of infusion). Similarly, the beta-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol at concentrations of 10(-7) and 10(-6) M provoked a pronounced release of GLP-1 (peak at 500% of the basal value with 10(-6) M isoproterenol). Finally, the muscarinic cholinergic agonist bethanechol at a concentration of 10(-4) M evoked a gradual increase in GLP-1 immunoreactivity, which reached a maximal value (900% over basal) at the end of the 30-min infusion period. The lowest concentration of bethanechol used in the present study (10(-5) M) did not increase portal GLP-1 immunoreactivity over the basal value. Tetrodotoxin did not modify the bethanechol-, isoproterenol-, calcitonin gene-related peptide-, or bombesin-induced GLP-1 release. In conclusion, the present study conducted with the isolated vascularly perfused rat colon shows that there are interactions between the two most potent incretins, GIP and GLP-1, probably through an enteroendocrine pathway. Additionally, several transmitters of the gut are potent stimulants of GLP-1 release and, therefore, represent potential tools in the treatment of the noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.