Growth hormone (GH) is known to produce insulin resistance, but the exact molecular mechanism remains unclear. We have chronically treated rats with GH and observed that the levels of insulin receptor in the liver or muscle were similar in both the GH-treated and non-treated rats. Insulin-stimulated receptor autophosphorylation was unaltered in the liver, but was reduced in the muscle of rats treated with GH. Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase protein levels decreased in the liver but not muscle of GH-treated rats. There was no change in hepatic and muscle IRS-2 concentrations. A common finding in liver and muscle was the decrease in IRS-1 and IRS-2 tyrosine phosphorylation associated with a reduction in the interaction between these substrates and PI 3-kinase. These data suggest that changes in the early steps of insulin signal transduction may have a role in the insulin resistance observed in rats exposed to an excess of GH.