The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is a model of human insulin resistance syndrome. Quantitative trait loci for cellular defects in glucose and fatty acid metabolism have been mapped to an overlapping region of rat chromosome (RNO) RNO4 in SHR of the National Institute of Health colony, where a deletion in the Cd36 gene has been implicated as the causative mutation of insulin resistance. The present study has examined the potential presence of RNO4 linkage to a series of metabolic phenotypes in F(2) progeny derived from SHR of a Japanese colony (SHR/Izm) without the Cd36 mutation. Our data demonstrate that 'major' insulin resistance gene(s) are unlikely to exist on RNO4 in SHR/Izm and in vitro phenotypes measured in isolated adipocytes do not cosegregate in the F(2) population studied. Thus, it seems to be difficult to explain the underlying genetic mechanisms of insulin resistance by a single major gene on RNO4.