In order to investigate the regulation of glucose transporter gene expression in the altered metabolic conditions of obesity and diabetes, we have measured mRNA levels encoding GLUT2 in the liver and GLUT4 in the gastrocnemius muscle from various insulin resistant animal models, including Zucker fatty, Wistar fatty, and streptozocin(STZ)-treated diabetic rats. Northern blot analysis revealed that GLUT2 mRNA levels were significantly (P less than 0.001) elevated in 14 wk Zucker fatty and Wistar fatty rats relative to lean littermates but were similar in these two groups at 5 wk of age. Furthermore, there was significant increase (P less than 0.01) in GLUT2 mRNA levels in STZ diabetic rats at 3 wk after treatment. GLUT4 mRNA levels were not significantly different between control and insulin resistant rats in all animal models. These results indicate that neither hyperinsulinemia nor hyperglycemia affects GLUT4 mRNA levels in the muscle. However, GLUT2 mRNA levels in the liver were elevated in obesity and diabetes, although this regulatory event occurred independently from circulating insulin or glucose concentrations.