We examined the disposition of a continuous 4-h intraduodenal glucose infusion (8 mg.kg-1 x min-1, labeled with [1-13C]glucose and [3-3H]glucose) in nine conscious hepatic-denervated dogs. Cumulative net hepatic uptakes (in grams of glucose equivalents) were 13.7 +/- 2.5 glucose, 3.1 +/- 0.6 gluconeogenic amino acids, and 0.8 +/- 0.1 glycerol. Net hepatic glycogen synthesis totalled 11.0 +/- 0.9 g, 55-62% via the direct pathway. All values were similar to those in hepatic-innervated dogs. Glycogen synthase activity and rate of glycogen synthesis were positively correlated (r2 = 0.913, P < 0.05). Variability in net hepatic glycogen synthesis and the mass of glycogen synthesized via the indirect pathway was reduced in hepatic-denervated dogs (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the glycemic response and rate of net glycogen synthesis during an intraduodenal glucose infusion was no different in hepatic-denervated and -innervated dogs. Net hepatic glucose uptake was sufficient to account for all net hepatic glycogen synthesis and lactate production, consistent with an intrahepatic source of gluconeogenic precursors for glycogen synthesis via the indirect pathway. Hepatic nerves appear responsible for much of the variability in net hepatic glycogen synthesis and in the mass of glycogen synthesized via the indirect pathway in normal dogs.