D-glucose regulates maintenance and function of pancreatic beta-cells. Several studies have shown that IRS-2, but not IRS-1, is necessary to maintain and sufficient to expand functional beta-cell mass. We therefore analyzed the expression of IRS-2 and IRS-1 in beta-cells after culture in the presence of various concentrations of D-glucose and other metabolisable or non-metabolisable hexoses. D-glucose increased Irs-2 transcription and IRS-2 accumulation in a dose-dependent manner (1.6 to 25 mmol/l), with a 3-fold increased plateau after 10 h. In contrast, the expression of IRS-1 remained unaffected. D-glucose also induced phosphorylation of IRS-2 while non-metabolisable hexoses did neither affect expression nor phosphorylation. D-glucose-mediated elevation and phosphorylation of IRS-2 were independent of autocrine insulin action although insulin itself could transiently and slightly enhance IRS-2 expression.