Glucagon-like peptide-I (GLP-I) is a potent insulinotropic incretin hormone. Since the insulinotropic action of GLP-I is preserved in patients with diabetes mellitus, the pep-tide is now tested as new therapeutic agent for the treatment of diabetes. The number of GLP-I receptors present on B cells is regulated by several signal transduction pathways. In this study, we generated several Chinese hamster ovary (CHL) cell lines stably expressing different numbers of GLP-I receptors. The effects on binding properties and signal transduction were characterized. The lowest number of receptors was 1,791 per cell; the highest was 378,720 per cell. A comparable affinity against GLP-I was obtained with all clones. The three clones with the lowest numbers of receptors (1,791, 4,371, and 5,633 per cell) did not show any cyclic AMP (CAMP) generation in response to GLP-I (1 pM-1 μM). Cells expressing 13,175, 41,872, 271,003, and 378,720 receptors, respectively, increased cAMP concentration-dependently after GLP-I. The cell line with the highest number of receptors had the maximal response (352% of controls) but a dramatically reduced EC50 (100 nM, compared to 8 and 7 nM). All cell lines showed an identical cAMP response to 1 and 10 μM forskolin. These data demonstrate that a minimum number of GLP-I receptors is required for signal transduction. The GLP-I receptor is desensitized when expressed in high numbers on the cells. In this case, the signal transduction properties remain unchanged.