Abstract Experimental hyperthyroidism induced by the administration of tri-iodothyronine (T3; 100 μ g 100 g body wt; 3 days) increased plasma non-esterified fatty acids in the fed state in the rat. At the same time, hepatic PDH kinase responded with a persistent (1.6-fold) increase in activity. The exposure of hepatocytes from fed euthyroid rats to T3 (100 nM) in culture for 21 h increased PDH kinase activity to an extent comparable to that observed in vivo in response to hyperthyroidism. The in vitro increase in PDH kinase activity was suppressed by insulin (100 μU/ml) and by inhibition of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. The results demonstrate a direct hepatic action of T3 to increase PDH kinase activity, which is mediated by intramitochondrial fatty acyl-CoA or a product of β-oxidation, and facilitated by hepatic insulin resistance.