1. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play essential roles in many biological processes. It is known that aberrant miRNA expression contributes to some pathological conditions. However, it is not known whether miRNAs play any role in the development of insulin resistance in adipocytes, a key pathophysiological link between obesity and diabetes. 2. To investigate the function of miRNAs in the development of insulin resistance, using miRNA microarray analysis we compared miRNA expression profiles between normal insulinsensitive 3T3-L1 adipocytes and 3T3-L1 adipocytes rendered insulin resistant following treatment with high glucose (25mmol/L) and high insulin (1 mol/L). Furthermore, adipocytes were transfected with specific antisense oligonucleotides against miRNA-320 (anti-miR-320 oligo) and the effects on the development of insulin resistance were evaluated. 3. We identified 50 upregulated and 29 downregulated miRNAs in insulin-resistant (IR) adipocytes, including a 50-fold increase in miRNA-320 (miR-320) expression. Using bioinformatic techniques, the p85 subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) was found to be a potential target of miR-320. In experiments with anti-miR-320 oligo, insulin sensitivity was increased in IR adipocytes, as evidenced by increases in p85 expression, phosphorylation of Akt and the protein expression of the glucose transporter GLUT-4, as well as insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. These beneficial effects of anti-miR-320 oligo were observed only in IR adipocytes and not in normal adipocytes. 4. In conclusion, the miRNA profile changes in IR adipocytes compared with normal 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Anti-miR-320 oligo was found to regulate insulin resistance in adipocytes by improving insulin–PI3-K signalling pathways. The findings provide information regarding a potentially new therapeutic strategy to control insulin resistance.