Food ingestion induces a rapid increase in the insulinotropic glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in plasma. Paradoxically, GLP-1 originates from the lower intestines and therefore a complex regulation of postprandial GLP-1 secretion must exist. This was addressed in the present study by utilizing an isolated vascularly perfused rat ileum preparation. Peptides and neurotransmitters thought to be candidate mediators triggering GLP-1 secretion were arterially infused and GLP-1 was measured in the venous effluent. Arterial infusion of cholinergic agonists strongly enhanced GLP-1 secretion which was counteracted by the addition of atropine. Histamine, dopamine, 5-hydoxytryptamine, γ-aminobutyric acid, and norepinephrine had no effect. Peptides of the bombesin family were strong stimulants whereas tachykinins, enkephalins, dynorphin, TRH, calcitonin-gene-related peptide and members of the secretin family, vasoactive intestinal peptide, peptide histidine isoleucine and neuropeptide Y, were less effective. The second incretin hormone, gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), was the most potent stimulant of GLP-1 secretion in our study. It enhanced GLP-1 release up to sixfold above basal during the early phase followed by a sustained secretion at 400% above basal. This stimulation remained unaffected by atropine. In conclusion, in addition to luminal stimulation of nutrients, a cholinergic impulse as well as peptidergic mediators (among them possibly GIP and GRP) may have an impact on postprandial GLP-1 secretion from the rat ileum.