The inhibition of sugar uptake by a series of hydrophobic bis(D-mannose) derivatives has been measured in rat adipocytes. When the D-mannose moieties of the bis compounds are separated by a hexane bridge the transport inhibition constant (Ki) is greater than for a decane-bridged molecule. This is probably due to the increased hydrophobicity of the bridge of the decane-bridged compound. The enhancement in affinity due to the second sugar in the bis(D-mannose) derivatives is probably only 2-fold, since half reduction of the bis(D-mannosyloxy)hexane increases Ki approx. 2-3-fold. N'-DNP-1,3-bis(D-mannos-4'-yloxy)propyl-2-amine has very high affinity in insulin-treated cells. The affinity is approx. 1000-fold higher than for D-mannose. This enhancement is probably due to the hydrophobicity of the DNP group. The distance from the sugar to the hydrophobic group is important because an increase in Ki occurs if an aminocaproyl spacer is introduced between the DNP group and 1,3-bis(D-mannos-4'-yloxy)propyl-2-amine. Aminocaproyl and glycyl spacers also increase the Ki for NAP derivatives of 1,3-bis(D-mannos-4'-yloxy)propyl-2-amine. Each of the hydrophobic bis(D-mannose) derivatives has a lower Ki in insulin-treated cells. This may be due to an insulin responsive hydrophobic interaction between the hydrophobic portion of the sugar and a hydrophobic domain in the transport system. The inhibition constants for the hydrophobic bis(D-mannose) compounds have also been measured in human erythrocytes.