Insulin resistance and obesity are central components of the metabolic syndrome which has become the leading cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide. Direct interactions of the beta (3)-adrenoceptor system with adipocyte signaling and function in humans remain poorly understood. However, this might have important consequences for the regulation of energy homeostasis and insulin resistance in states of hyperinsulinemia and sympatho-adrenergic overactivity. We therefore investigated beta (3)-adrenoceptor-mediated effects on insulin signaling and glucose uptake in mammary adipocytes of healthy women that underwent breast reduction surgery. Glucose uptake was strongly induced by insulin stimulation. This was paralleled by robust induction of insulin receptor kinase activity, insulin receptor substrate-1-associated phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase activity, and protein kinase B phosphorylation. Treatment with the beta (3)-adrenoceptor-selective agonist CL316,243 alone, neither induced alterations in the early insulin signaling cascade nor changed the basal level of glucose uptake. By contrast, pretreatment with the beta (3)-adrenoceptor agonist inhibited the insulin-induced insulin receptor substrate-1-associated phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase activity by 50 % and protein kinase B phosphorylation by 40 % without affecting insulin receptor kinase activity upstream. However, on the functional level insulin-induced glucose uptake remained unchanged by beta (3)-adrenoceptor stimulation. Our data demonstrate an insulin receptor-independent negative influence of beta (3)-adrenoceptor stimulation on proximal insulin signaling. This inhibition is apparently dissociated from glucose uptake in human adipocytes.