Abstract Effects of cAMP on insulin-stimulated mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway were examined using rat hepatoma H4EII cells. MAP kinase was rapidly activated and reached a peak 3 min after the stimulation by insulin. Forskolin (1 μM) and 8(4-chlorophenylthio)cAMP (8-CPT-cAMP) (0.1 mM) inhibited the insulin-stimulated MAP kinase activity. Pretreatment of the cells with H-8 (50 μM), a cAMP-dependent protein kinase inhibitor, enhanced the insulin-stimulated MAP kinase activity and partially restored the inhibitory effect of cAMP. Furthermore, insulin-induced phosphorylation of MAP kinase was inhibited by 8-CPT-cAMP, and the inhibition was restored by H-8. 8-CPT-cAMP did not inhibit the autophosphorylation of insulin receptor. These data indicate that elevation of intracellular cAMP blocks the insulin-stimulated MAP kinase pathway downstream of insulin receptor.