The present study tested whether exposure of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) to glucose at different concentrations in the media results in increased bacterial adherence to host cells through increased heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) production, thereby suggesting the effects are physiological. Porcine-origin ETEC strains grown in Casamino acid yeast extract medium containing different concentrations of glucose were washed and inoculated onto IPEC-J2 porcine intestinal epithelial cells to test for effects on adherence and host cell cAMP concentrations. Consistent with previous studies, all LT+ strains had higher ETEC adherence to IPEC-J2 cells than did LT- strains. Adherence of the LT- but not the LT+ strains was increased by pre-incubating the IPEC-J2 cells with LT and decreased by co-incubation with GM1 ganglioside in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.05). To determine whether the glucose concentration of the cell culture media has an effect on adherence, IPEC-J2 cells were inoculated with LT+ or LT- strains in cell culture media containing a final glucose concentration of 0, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0%, and incubated for 4 h. Only media containing 0.25% glucose resulted in increased adherence and cAMP levels, and this was limited to IPEC-J2 cells inoculated with LT+ strains. This study supports the hypothesis that glucose, at a concentration optimal for LT expression, enhances bacterial adherence through the promotion of LT production. Hence, these results establish the physiological relevance of the effects of glucose on LT production and provide a basis for how glucose intake may influence the severity of ETEC infection.