Regulation of glucose uptake by 1- and 3-day denervated soleus (slow-twitch) and plantaris (fast-twitch) muscles in vivo was investigated. One day after denervation, soleus and plantaris muscles exhibited 62 and 65% decreases in insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose uptake, respectively, compared with corresponding control muscles. At this interval, denervated muscles showed no alterations in insulin receptor binding and activity, amount and activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and amounts of GLUT-1 and GLUT-4. Three days after denervation, there was no increase in 2-deoxyglucose uptake in response to insulin in soleus muscle, whereas plantaris muscle exhibited a 158% increase in basal and an almost normal absolute increment in insulin-stimulated uptake. Despite these differences, denervated soleus and plantaris muscles exhibited comparable decreases in insulin-stimulated activities of the insulin receptor (approximately 40%) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (approximately 50%) and a pronounced decrease in GLUT-4. An increase in GLUT-1 in plantaris, but not soleus, muscle 3 days after denervation is consistent with augmented basal 2-deoxyglucose uptake in plantaris muscle at this interval. These results demonstrate that, in denervated muscles, there is a clear dissociation between insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose uptake and upstream events involved in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake.