Previous studies in mice suggest that portal venous infusion of glucose at a low rate paradoxically causes hypoglycemia; this does not occur in dogs, rats, and humans. A possible explanation is that fasting status in the mouse studies may have altered the response. We sought to determine whether the response to portal glucose delivery in the mouse was similar to that seen in other species and whether it was dependent on fasting status. Studies were performed on chronically catheterized conscious mice. Catheters were placed into the portal and jugular veins and carotid artery 5 days before study. After a 5- or 16-h fast, glucose was infused into either the portal (PO) or the jugular vein (JU) for 6 h at 25 microg.g(-1).min(-1). [3-(3)H]glucose was infused into the JU to measure glucose turnover. In 5-h-fasted mice, PO and JU exhibited similar increases in arterial blood glucose from 155 +/- 11 to 173 +/- 19 and 147 +/- 8 to 173 +/- 10 mg/dl, respectively. Endogenous glucose production decreased and arterial insulin increased to the same extent in both PO and JU. A similar response was observed in 16-h-fasted mice; however, the proportion of hepatic glycogen synthesis occurring by the indirect pathway was increased by fasting. In summary, portal glucose delivery in the mouse did not cause hypoglycemia even when the duration of the fast was extended. The explanation of the differing response from previous reports in the mouse is unclear.