The genetically obese (ob/ob) mouse is a useful model for the study of the diabetogenic action of growth hormone (GH), because treatment of these animals with GH results in decreased responsiveness of their adipose tissue to insulin in vitro. Studies of the mechanisms involved in GH-induced insulin resistance using isolated adipocytes of ob/ob mice have not been possible, however, because of their extreme fragility and the lack of an adequate system for the maintenance of these cells. This study describes a new method for the isolation of ob/ob mouse adipocytes. The isolated cells are stable, viable and metabolically responsive to insulin. In addition, these adipocytes have been maintained in primary culture, in serum-free medium, for up to 3 days. During culture, the cells exhibit large increases in 125I-hGH binding (10-20-fold) and porcine 125I-insulin binding (5-10-fold). The induction of insulin resistance by GH has also been demonstrated in these freshly isolated ob/ob mouse adipocytes. The studies to date indicate that the ob/ob mouse adipocyte system should provide a useful model for detailed studies of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of GH induced insulin resistance.