The effect of an intravenous infusion of glucose on plasma triglyceride (TG) concentration in fed rats was determined in order to partially elucidate the mechanism of diabetes-induced hypertriglyceridemia. Glucose infused at 8 mg/kg per min caused the plasma TG concentration to be elevated significantly when compared to controls infused with saline alone. In rats which were euglycemic (clamped, insulin infused at 2.5 mU/kg per min), plasma TG concentration remained constant throughout the glucose infusion period (8 mg/kg per min). Hyperglycemic rats infused with insulin (2.5 mU/kg per min) as well as with glucose (16 mg/kg per min) were also hypertriglyceridemic. Infusion of insulin alone did not change the concentration of plasma TG over a 150 min period. Glucose was also infused (8 mg/kg per min) with somatostatin (1 micrograms/kg per min) to block endogenous production of insulin. Somatostatin infusion did not suppress glucose-induced hypertriglyceridemia. For all treatments, the net change in TG concentration was found to positively correlate with the net change in plasma glucose concentration at 150 min after the infusions (r = 0.83, P less than 0.001). The higher TG concentration in the glucose infused, hyperglycemic clamp and glucose plus somatostatin groups reflected an increased rate of TG secretion, in the presence of a lower concentration of plasma free fatty acids. These results suggest that in a non-fasted state, acute hyperglycemia increases plasma TG by stimulating hepatic TG secretion, in a manner which is independent of either plasma insulin or free fatty acids levels.