During the past few years it has become increasingly apparent that insulin resistance may be a more frequent cause of carbohydrate intolerance or contributing factor in carbohydrate intolerance than was hitherto appreciated. Abnormal insulin action may result from prereceptor, receptor or postreceptor defects. These may be manifested by an increase in the concentration of insulin necessary for a half-maximal effect (decreased sensitivity) or a decrease in the maximal response to insulin (decreased responsiveness), or both. Alterations in sensitivity and responsiveness to insulin can be distinguished only by evaluating insulin dose-response curves. When used in conjunction with measurements of insulin binding to its receptor, the characteristics of these curves can provide insight into the mechanism or mechanisms responsible for insulin resistance.