Short-term growth hormone excess is associated with impaired hepatic and extrahepatic responses to insulin in the absence of a change in insulin binding. To determine whether similar defects occur after chronic growth hormone excess, insulin dose-response curves for stimulation of glucose utilization and suppression of glucose production and monocyte and erythrocyte insulin binding were determined in five acromegalic patients and six healthy volunteers of comparable age, sex, and obesity. During infusion of insulin, glucose infusion rates required to maintain euglycemia were significantly lower (P less than 0.02 all) in the acromegalic patients than in the control subjects. Suppression of glucose production was impaired in the acromegalic subjects at insulin concentrations in the physiological range but not at insulin concentrations in the supraphysiological range. In contrast stimulation of glucose utilization was decreased in the acromegalic subjects at both physiological and supraphysiological insulin concentrations. Neither monocyte nor erythrocyte insulin binding differed significantly in the acromegalic and control subjects. These data indicate that chronic growth hormone excess is associated with a defect in both hepatic and extrahepatic insulin action. The decrease in glucose utilization at supraphysiological insulin concentrations in the acromegalic subjects and the normal monocyte and erythrocyte insulin binding suggest a postbinding alteration in insulin action.