Specific binding sites for [125I]beta-endorphin and the delta1-opioid [3H][D-pen(2), D-pen(5)]enkephalin (DPDPE) were quantified using autoradiography in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of lean and obese-diabetic (ob/ob) mice. The density of binding was significantly higher in obese-diabetic than lean mice. The uptake of 2-deoxy-D-[1-3H]deoxyglucose, a nonmetabolized glucose analogue, into isolated soleus and EDL muscles was stimulated by beta-endorphin, beta-endorphin 1-27, and DPDPE, but not by the delta2-opioid deltorphin II. Both beta-endorphin and DPDPE stimulated deoxyglucose uptake in obese-diabetic mice. Thus, glucose transport in skeletal muscle may be partly mediated via delta1-opioid receptors. The increased receptor density in obese-diabetic mice may be an adaptive response.