Résumé : Selected esters of succinic acid are currently under investigation as possible insulinotropic agents for the treatment of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of ten novel esters of succinic acid upon biosynthetic activity in rat pancreatic islets. In the absence of any other exogenous nutrient, glycerol-3-hydroxy-1,2-dimethyl succinate (0.5 mM), D-arabitol-5-hydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetramethylsuccinate (0.5 mM), and 4-tert-butylsuccinate (2.5 mM) exerted little or no effect upon L-[4-3H]phenylalanine incorporation into trichloroacetic acid-precipitable material. A modest but significant increase in biosynthetic activity to approximately 150% of basal value was found in the presence of L-threitol-1,2,4-trimethylsuccinate (2.0 mM) and ethanediol-1,2-diethylsuccinate (2.5 mM). A two- to five-fold increase in protein biosynthesis was observed in islets exposed to propanediol-1,2-dimethylsuccinate, glycerol-1,2-dimethylsuccinate-3-hydrogenosuccinate, L-threitol-3-succinoyl-1,2,4-trimethylsuccinate, glycerol-1,2-dimethylsuccinate or ethanediol-1,2-dimethylsuccinate (2.5 mM each), these esters being mentioned in order of increasing biological efficiency. There was a significant correlation between these results and the insulinotropic action of the same esters. The present findings thus reinforce the view that such esters act as nutrients in islet cells and, therefore, offer the advantage over pharmacological agents currently used for the treatment of type-2 diabetes in stimulating both the biosynthetic and secretory activity of insulin-producing B-cells.