High-dose intravenous infusion of 5% glucose promotes rebound hypoglycaemia and hypovolaemia in healthy volunteers. To study whether such effects occur in response to glucose/insulin, 12 healthy firemen (mean age, 39 years) received three infusions over 1-2 h that contained 20 ml of 2.5% glucose/kg of body weight, 5 ml of 10% glucose/kg of body weight with 0.05 unit of rapid-acting insulin/kg of body weight, and 4 ml of 50% glucose/kg of body weight with 1 unit of insulin/kg of body weight. The plasma glucose concentration and plasma dilution were compared at 5-10 min intervals over 4 h. Regardless of the amount of administered fluid and whether insulin was given, the plasma glucose concentration decreased to hypoglycaemic levels within 30 min of the infusion ending. The plasma dilution closely mirrored plasma glucose and became negative by approx. 5%, which indicates a reduction in the plasma volume. These alterations were only partially restored during the follow-up period. A linear relationship between plasma glucose and plasma dilution was most apparent when the infused glucose had been dissolved in only a small amount of fluid. For the strongest glucose/insulin solution, this linear relationship had a correlation coefficient of 0.77 (n=386, P<0.0001). The findings of the present study indicate that a redistribution of water due to the osmotic strength of the glucose is the chief mechanism accounting for the hypovolaemia. It is concluded that infusions of 2.5%, 10% and 50% glucose, with and without insulin, in well-trained men were consistently followed by long-standing hypoglycaemia and also by hypovolaemia, which averaged 5%. These results emphasize the relationship between metabolism and fluid balance.