Abstract A new sulfonylurea, glimepiride (HOE 490), has been developed for the glycemic control in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. We examined the effect of glimepiride on glucose and insulin levels in KK-Ay mice, an animal model of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia. Administration of glimepiride (0.5 mg/kg/day) for 8 weeks to KK-Ay mice resulted in decrease in glucose (297 ± 36 to 250 ± 51 mg/dl) and insulin (76 ± 14 to 41 ± 14 μU/ml) levels. To clarify the mechanism of the agent, we examined the effect of this new drug on insulin receptors in the skeletal muscles. There was no difference in insulin binding to the receptors from both glimepiride-treated and -untreated KK-Ay mice muscles. The insulin-stimulated autophosphorylation of insulin receptors from KK-Ay mice was decreased compared to that from normal mice (5 ± 1 vs. 39 ± 13% over basal). Glimepiride did not ameliorate impaired insulin-stimulated insulin receptor autophosphorylation. To determine the effect of glimepiride on post-insulin receptor signaling pathway, we measured 2-[ 3H]glycerol incorporation into diacylglycerol in the cultured rat fibroblast cell line overexpressing human insulin receptors. Glimepiride (100 μM) as well as insulin (10 nM) significantly stimulated diacylglycerol production. These results suggest that glimepiride has a potent extrapancreatic effect on glucose metabolism and may directly stimulate glucose transport activity through phospholipid signaling pathway, but not through insulin receptor kinase signaling pathway.