Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) has been shown to inhibit gastric emptying of liquid meals in type 2 diabetic patients. It was the aim of the present study to compare the action of physiological and pharmacological doses of intravenous GLP-1-(7-36) amide and GLP-1-(7-37) on gastric emptying in normal volunteers. Nine healthy subjects participated (26 +/- 3 yr; body mass index 22.9 +/- 1.6 kg/m2; hemoglobin A1C 5.0 +/- 0.2%) in five experiments on separate occasions after an overnight fast. A nasogastric tube was positioned for the determination of gastric volume by use of a dye-dilution technique (phenol red). GLP-1-(7-36) amide (0.4, 0.8, or 1.2 pmol.kg-1.min-1), GLP-1-(7-37) (1.2 pmol.kg-1.min-1), or placebo was infused intravenously from -30 to 240 min. A liquid meal (50 g sucrose, 8% amino acids, 440 ml, 327 kcal) was administered at 0 min. Glucose, insulin, and C-peptide were measured over 240 min. Gastric emptying was dose dependently slowed by GLP-1-(7-36) amide (P < 0.0001). Effects of GLP-1-(7-37) at 1.2 pmol.kg-1.min-1 were virtually identical. GLP.1 dose dependently stimulated fasting insulin secretion (-30 to 0 min) and slightly reduced glucose concentrations. After the meal (0-240 min), integrated incremental glucose (P < 0.0001) and insulin responses (P = 0.01) were reduced (dose dependently) rather than enhanced. In conclusion, 1) GLP-1-(7-36) amide or -(7-37) inhibits gastric emptying also in normal subjects, 2) physiological doses (0.4 pmol.kg-1.min-1) still have a significant effect, 3) despite the known insulinotropic actions of GLP-1-(7-36) amide and -(7-37), the net effect of administering GLP-1 with a meal is no change or a reduction in meal-related insulin responses. These findings suggest a primarily inhibitory function for GLP-1 (ileal brake mechanisms).