Kv1 channels are shaker-related potassium channels that influence insulin sensitivity. Kv1.3 -/- mice are protected from diet-induced insulin resistance and some studies suggest that Kv1.3 inhibitors provide similar protection. However, it is unclear whether blockade of Kv1.3 in adipocytes or skeletal muscle increases glucose uptake. There is no evidence that the related channel Kv1.5 has any influence on insulin sensitivity and its expression in adipose tissue has not been reported. PAP-1 is a selective inhibitor of Kv1.3, with 23-fold, 32-fold and 125-fold lower potencies as an inhibitor of Kv1.5, Kv1.1 and Kv1.2 respectively. Soleus muscles from wild-type and genetically obese ob/ob mice were incubated with 2-deoxy[1-14C]-glucose for 45 min and formation of 2-deoxy[1-14C]-glucose-6-phosphate was measured. White adipocytes were incubated with D-[U-14C]-glucose for 1h. TNFalpha and Il-6 secretion from white adipose tissue pieces were measured by enzyme-linked-immunoassay. In the absence of insulin, a high concentration (3 μM) of PAP-1 stimulated 2-deoxy[1-14C]-glucose uptake in soleus muscle of wild-type and obese mice by 30% and 40% respectively, and in adipocytes by 20% and 50% respectively. PAP-1 also stimulated glucose uptake by adipocytes at the lower concentration of 1 μM, but at 300 nM, which is still 150-fold higher than its EC50 value for inhibition of the Kv1.3 channel, it had no effect. In the presence of insulin, PAP-1 (3 μM) had a significant effect only in adipocytes from obese mice. PAP-1 (3 μM) reduced the secretion of TNFalpha by adipose tissue but had no effect on the secretion of IL-6. Expression of Kv1.1, Kv1.2, Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 was determined by RT-PCR. Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 mRNA were detected in liver, gastrocnemius muscle, soleus muscle and white adipose tissue from wild-type and ob/ob mice, except that Kv1.3 could not be detected in gastrocnemius muscle, nor Kv1.5 in liver, of wild-type mice. Expression of both genes was generally higher in liver and muscle of ob/ob mice compared to wild-type mice. Kv1.5 appeared to be expressed more highly than Kv1.3 in soleus muscle, adipose tissue and adipocytes of wild-type mice. Expression of Kv1.2 appeared to be similar to that of Kv1.3 in soleus muscle and adipose tissue, but Kv1.2 was undetectable in adipocytes. Kv1.1 could not be detected in soleus muscle, adipose tissue or adipocytes. We conclude that inhibition of Kv1 channels by PAP-1 stimulates glucose uptake by adipocytes and soleus muscle of wild-type and ob/ob mice, and reduces the secretion of TNFalpha by adipose tissue. However, these effects are more likely due to inhibition of Kv1.5 than to inhibition of Kv1.3 channels.