There is controversy regarding the role of the Trp64Arg variant of the beta3-adrenergic receptor (beta3AR) gene in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. The modest effect of the variant as well as differences in study design, gender, age, and genetic background may contribute to divergent results among investigations. Insulin sensitivity (euglycemic clamp and tracers) was measured in 13 obese women (57 +/- 6 yr old) heterozygous for the beta3AR variant and in 14 women (57 +/- 4 yr old) homozygous for the normal gene. Groups were matched for age, body composition, intraabdominal fat, sc abdominal fat, physical activity level, and aerobic capacity. Exogenous glucose infusion during the clamp was significantly lower (P = 0.03) in beta3AR heterozygotes (241 +/- 135 mg/min) vs. normal homozygotes (379 +/- 172 mg/min). Basal endogenous glucose production was not different (P = 0.20) between heterozygotes (175 +/- 27 mg/min) and normal homozygotes (164 +/- 14 mg/min). Endogenous glucose production during hyperinsulinemia was also not different (P = 0.22) between heterozygotes (77 +/- 57 mg/min) and normal homozygotes (56 +/- 16 mg/min). Total glucose disposal adjusted for residual endogenous glucose production was lower (P = 0.049) for heterozygotes (320 +/- 111 mg/min) than for normal homozygotes (441 +/- 183 mg/min). Our results suggest that obese postmenopausal women who are heterozygous for the Trp64Arg variant in the beta3AR gene have greater insulin resistance than age-, body composition-, and physical activity-matched women homozygous for the normal gene.