Dietary phosphate restriction produces a rapid increase in tubular reabsorption of phosphate. To evaluate whether insulin is important in the acute renal adaptation following a low phosphate meal, four groups of conscious rats were studied by renal clearance methods, following a single meal by gavage. Group A received a normal (0.8%) phosphate meal, followed by saline infusion; Group B, a low (0.03%) phosphate meal, followed by saline infusion; group C, a low phosphate meal, followed by infusion of somatostatin to suppress endogenous insulin secretion; and Group D, a low phosphate meal, followed by infusion of somatostatin plus insulin. Baseline plasma phosphate, insulin, glomerular filtration rate, and fractional excretion of phosphate were similar in all four groups. Following a low phosphate meal in Groups B, C, and D, there was a decrease in plasma phosphate, as compared with group A. Whereas fractional excretion of phosphate decreased when plasma phosphate fell in Group B, administration of somatostatin (Group C) prevented the drop in fractional excretion of phosphate, despite a lower plasma phosphate. The addition of exogenous insulin (Group D) restored the antiphosphaturic effect of the low phosphate meal. These results suggest that insulin contributes to the acute decrease in phosphate excretion following a low phosphate meal.