We examined the role of vagus nerves in the transmission of the portal glucose signal in conscious dogs. At time 0, somatostatin infusion was started along with intraportal insulin and glucagon at 4-fold basal and basal rates, respectively. Glucose was infused via a peripheral vein to create hyperglycemia ( approximately 2 fold basal). At t = 90, hollow coils around the vagus nerves were perfused with -10 degrees C or 37 degrees C solution in the vagally cooled (COOL) and sham-cooled (SHAM) groups, respectively (n = 6 per group). Effectiveness of vagal blockade was demonstrated by increase in heart rate during perfusion in the COOL vs SHAM groups (183 +/- 3 vs 102 +/- 5 beats per minute, respectively) and by prolapse of the third eyelid in the COOL group. Arterial plasma insulin (22 +/- 2 and 24 +/- 3 micro U/mL) and glucagon (37 +/- 5 and 40 +/- 4 pg/mL) concentrations did not change significantly between the first experimental period and the coil perfusion period in either the SHAM or COOL group, respectively. The hepatic glucose load throughout the entire experiment was 46 +/- 1 and 50 +/- 2 mg . kg(-1) . min(-1) in the SHAM and COOL groups, respectively. Net hepatic glucose uptake (NHGU) did not differ in the SHAM and COOL groups before (2.2 +/- 0.5 and 2.9 +/- 0.8 mg . kg(-1) . min(-1), respectively) or during the cooling period (3.0 +/- 0.5 and 3.4 +/- 0.6 mg . kg(-1) . min(-1), respectively). Likewise, net hepatic glucose fractional extraction and nonhepatic glucose uptake and clearance were not different between groups during coil perfusion. Interruption of vagal signaling in the presence of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia resulting from peripheral glucose infusion did not affect NHGU, further supporting our previous suggestion that vagal input to the liver is not a primary determinant of NHGU.