Hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and elevated insulin levels frequently occur in burned patients; however, the mechanism(s) for this insulin resistance has not been fully elucidated. One possible mechanism could involve alterations in the phosphorylation of serine 307 of the insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) via activation of stress kinase enzymes, including SAPK/JNK. In the present study we examined the time course of the effect of burn injury to mice on: levels of IRS-1 protein, phosphorylation of serine 307 of IRS-1, SAPK/JNK kinase levels and activity and Akt kinase activity in hind limb skeletal muscle. Burn injury produced a reduction in hind limb muscle mass 24 h after injury, and, which persisted for 168 h. At 24 h after injury, there was a dramatic ( approximately 9-fold) increase in phosphorylation of IRS-1 serine 307 followed by a more moderate elevation thereafter. Total IRS-1 protein was slightly elevated at 24 h after injury and decreased to levels below sham treated animals at the later times. Burn injury did not appear to change total SAPK/JNK protein content, however, enzyme activity was increased for 7 days after injury. Akt kinase activity was decreased in skeletal muscle following burn injury; providing a biochemical basis for burn-induced insulin resistance. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that burn-induced insulin resistance may be related, at least in part, to alterations in the phosphorylation of key proteins in the insulin signaling cascade, including IRS-1, and that changes in stress kinases, such as SAPK/JNK produced by burn injury, may be responsible for these changes in phosphorylation.