The effect of increased Glut4 protein expression in muscle and fat on the whole body glucose metabolism has been evaluated by the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp technique in conscious mice. Fed and fasting plasma glucose concentrations were 172 +/- 7 and 78 +/- 7 mg/dl, respectively, in transgenic mice, and were significantly lower than that of nontransgenic littermates (208 +/- 5 mg/dl in fed; 102 +/- 5 mg/dl in fasting state). Plasma lactate concentrations were higher in transgenic mice, (6.5 +/- 0.7 mM in the fed and 5.8 +/- 1.0 mM in fasting state) compared with that of non-transgenic littermates (4.7 +/- 0.3 mM in the fed and 4.2 +/- 0.5 mM in fasting state). In the fed state, the rate of whole body glucose disposal was 70% higher in transgenic mice in the basal state, 81 and 54% higher during submaximal and maximal insulin stimulation. In the fasting state, insulin-stimulated whole body glucose disposal was also higher in the transgenic mice. Hepatic glucose production after an overnight fast was 24.8 +/- 0.7 mg/kg per min in transgenic mice, and 25.4 +/- 2.7 mg/kg per min in nontransgenic mice. Our data demonstrate that overexpression of Glut4 protein in muscle increases basal as well as insulin-stimulated whole body glucose disposal. These results suggest that skeletal muscle glucose transport is rate-limiting for whole body glucose disposal and that the Glut4 protein is a potential target for pharmacological or genetic manipulation for treatment of patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.