Here we evaluated the effect of leptin on glucose-induced insulin secretion by normal rat pancreatic islets. We show in perifusion experiments that leptin had no acute effect on the secretory activity of beta-cells. However, following preexposure to leptin a pronounced time- and dose-dependent inhibition of both first and second phases of secretion was observed. Maximum inhibition was obtained at 24 h and with 100 nM leptin. This inhibition did not involve a decrease in cellular insulin content. It was also not observed with islets from fa/fa rats. Leptin thus inhibits insulin secretion by a mechanism which requires long-term preexposure to the hormone and which may involve alteration in beta-cell gene expression.