Type II 5' deiodinase (D2) activity produces triiodothyronine (T3) from thyroxine (T4) and is induced by cold and norepinephrine (NE) in brown adipose tissue. T3 is required for and amplifies the adrenergic stimulation of D2 activity and mRNA in cultured brown adipocytes. D2 is upregulated by insulin and decrease in fasting. We now study the regulation by insulin of the adrenergically induced D2 activity and mRNA in primary cultures of rat brown adipocytes. Insulin alone does not increase D2 activity or mRNA. Insulin-depleted cells show a reduction in the adrenergically induced D2 activity, which is proportional to the length of insulin depletion and is restored after insulin addition. IGFs mimic this effect at higher doses. ERK 1/2 MAPK activity (p44/p42), stimulated by insulin, serum and NE, is an absolute requirement for the adrenergic stimulation of D2 activity and mRNA. PI3K is stimulated by insulin and serum, and NE increases the effect of insulin. The action of insulin on D2 is not due to changes in D2 half-life or in the proteasome-mediated degradation of D2, but it seems to modulate the transcriptional induction mediated by NE. D2 mRNA expression, induced by NE plus T3, is reduced when insulin is withdrawn at early differentiation stages. Insulin or IGF-I promotes increases in D2 mRNA. Insulin is required for the induction of D2 mRNA by T3. In conclusion, MAPK signaling is required for the adrenergic stimulation of D2 activity and mRNA, and insulin stimulates D2 activity via MAPK and PI3K and enhances the adrenergic pathways.