The accuracy of calculations of pre-hepatic insulin secretion were investigated, to provide independent validation of a population model of C-peptide kinetics. The effects of sampling frequency were also assessed. Five normal subjects (aged 28 to 43 years; BMI (kg/m2) 20.5 to 24.5) and five subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) treated by diet alone (aged 34 to 57 years; BMI 22.6 to 25.6) were given a variable intravenous infusion of biosynthetic human C-peptide (BHCP) (t=-60 to 240 min) mimicking meal stimulated C-peptide secretion, with short-term oscillations (peak approximately every 12 min) superimposed on the infusion profile. Plasma C-peptide was measured every 5 min (t=0 to 240 min). The BHCP infusion was reconstructed from C-peptide measurements using a population model of C-peptide kinetics and a deconvolution method. Bias, defined as the percentage difference between the total amount of calculated BHCP and the total amount of infused BHCP (t=0 to 240 min), indicated that overall C-peptide secretion can be measured with 14% [95% confidence interval (CI) -11 to 39%] and 21% (95% CI -3 to 45%) accuracy in normal subjects and subjects with NIDDM respectively. Accuracy was not reduced by reducing the sampling frequency to every 30 min. The root mean square error, measuring the average deviation between the infused and normalised calculated BHCP profiles, was also independent of the sampling frequency [mean (95% CI) 0.9 (0.3 to 1.6) pmol/kg per min in normal subjects; 1.0 (0.9 to 1.1) pmol/kg per min in subjects with NIDDM]. Deconvolution employing a population model of C-peptide kinetics can be used to estimate postprandial total C-peptide secretion with biases of 14% and 22% respectively in normal subjects and subjects with NIDDM. Plasma C-peptide samples need only be drawn every 30 minutes.