Plasma lactate is elevated in many physiological and pathological conditions, such as physical exercise, obesity, and diabetes, in which a reduction of insulin sensitivity is also present. Furthermore, an increased production of lactate from muscle and adipose tissue together with increased gluconeogenic substrate flux to the liver plays a primary role in enhancing hepatic glucose production (HGP) in diabetes. It has been shown that lactate may interfere with the utilization and oxidation of other substrates such as free fatty acids (FFAs). The aim of this study was to investigate if lactate infusion affects peripheral glucose utilization in rats. Animals were acutely infused with lactate to achieve a final lactate concentration of 4 mmol/L. They were then submitted to a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp to study HGP and overall glucose metabolism (rate of disappearance [Rd]). At the end of the clamp, a bolus of 2-deoxy-[1-3H]-glucose was injected to study insulin-dependent glucose uptake in different tissues. The results show that lactate infusion did not affect HGP either in the basal state or at the end of clamp, whereas glucose utilization significantly decreased in lactate-infused rats (26.6 +/- 1.1 v 19.5 +/- 1.4 mg.kg-1.min-1, P < .01). A reduction in the tissue glucose utilization index was noted in heart (18.01 +/- 4.44 v 46.21 +/- 6.51 ng.mg-1.min-1, P < .01), diaphragm (5.56 +/- 0.74 v 9.01 +/- 0.93 ng.mg-1.min-1, P < .01), soleus (13.62 +/- 2.29 v 34.05 +/- 6.08 ng.mg-1.min-1, P < .01), and red quadricep (4.43 +/- 0.73 v 5.88 +/- 0.32 ng.mg-1.min-1, P < .05) muscle in lactate-infused animals, whereas no alterations were observed in other muscles or in adipose tissue. Therefore, we suggest that acute lactate infusion induces insulin resistance in the heart and some muscles, thus supporting a role for lactate in the regulation of peripheral glucose metabolism.