The effects of diet-manipulated variations in muscle glycogen concentration and epinephrine on glucose uptake were studied in epitrochlearis muscles from Wistar rats. Both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake [measured with a tracer amount of 2-[1,2-3H(N)]deoxy-D-glucose] inversely correlated with initial glycogen concentration (glycogen concentration vs. basal glucose uptake: Spearman's rho = -0.76, n = 84, P < 0.000001; glycogen concentration vs. insulin-stimulated glucose uptake: Spearman's rho = -0.67, n = 44, P < 0.00001). Two fasting-refeeding procedures were used that resulted in differences in muscle glycogen concentrations, although with similar treatment for the last 48 h before the experiment. In the rats with the lower glycogen concentration, basal as well as insulin-stimulated glucose uptake was elevated. The muscle glycogen concentration had no effect on epinephrine-stimulated glycogenolysis. Epinephrine, however, was found to reduce basal glucose uptake in all groups. These results suggest that 1) the glycogen concentration participates in the regulation of both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, 2) the magnitude of epinephrine-stimulated glycogen breakdown is independent of the glycogen concentration, and 3) epinephrine inhibits basal glucose uptake at all glycogen concentrations.