An earlier report from this laboratory showed that feeding rats a high fat diet decreased epinephrine-stimulated lipolysis in their adipose tissue. Experiments were designed to explore further the effects of such diets on adipocyte response to epinephrine and to several other lipolytic and antilipolytic agents. Rats were fed diets with 67% of energy consisting of glucose or lard for 5 to 7 d. Adipocytes were prepared from epididymal fat pads and lipolysis measured by the release of glycerol into the medium during 1-h incubations. The cells from the rats fed the high fat diet showed lower lipolytic responses to stimulation by epinephrine, forskolin and dibutyryl cyclic AMP than those from rats fed the high glucose diet. The lard diet effect on the lipolytic response to isobutylmethylxanthine varied among experiments, but it also decreased it in some of them. However, the high fat diet did not induce decreased sensitivity or responsiveness to the antilipolytic effect of insulin, although previous reports have demonstrated resistance to other actions of insulin in rats fed a high fat diet. The antilipolytic effect of nicotinic acid was also similar in cells from rats fed a high fat diet to that found for cells from rats fed the high glucose diet.