Endothelial dysfunction appears to be an integral aspect of the insulin resistance syndrome, independently of hyperglycemia. The ability of insulin to cause endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO)-dependent vasodilation amplifies its overall effect of stimulating skeletal muscle glucose uptake and modulating vascular tone. The dose-dependent physiologic increase in skeletal muscle blood flow in response to insulin, which is highly associated with the rate of glucose metabolism, is impaired in insulin-resistant states. Insulin appears to mediate vasodilation by direct stimulation of release of NO from endothelium. Studies of the response to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator methacholine chloride in lean and obese nondiabetic subjects and obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus indicate that there may be marked endothelial dysfunction very early in insulin resistance. The potent vasoprotective effects of NO mitigate various atherogenic processes, including vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, platelet adhesion and thrombogenesis, lipid peroxidation, and monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. The interaction between insulin and NO may contribute to the prominent outcomes of insulin resistance syndrome (viz., hypertension, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis).