Direct evidence for leptin resistance in peripheral tissues such as skeletal muscle does not exist. Therefore, we investigated the effects of different high-fat diets on lipid metabolism in isolated rat soleus muscle and specifically explored whether leptin's stimulatory effects on muscle lipid metabolism would be reduced after exposure to high-fat diets. Control (Cont, 12% kcal fat) and high-fat [60% kcal safflower oil (n-6) (HF-Saff); 48% kcal safflower oil plus 12% fish oil (n-3)] diets were fed to rats for 4 wk. After the dietary treatments, muscle lipid turnover and oxidation in the presence and absence of leptin was measured using pulse-chase procedures in incubated resting soleus muscle. In the absence of leptin, phospholipid, diacylglycerol, and triacylglycerol (TG) turnover were unaffected by the high-fat diets, but exogenous palmitate oxidation was significantly increased in the HF-Saff group. In Cont rats, leptin increased exogenous palmitate oxidation (21.4 ± 5.7 vs. 11.9 ± 1.61 nmol/g, P = 0.019) and TG breakdown (39.8 ± 5.6 vs. 27.0 ± 5.2 nmol/g, P = 0.043) and decreased TG esterification (132.5 ± 14.6 vs. 177.7 ± 29.6 nmol/g, P = 0.043). However, in both high-fat groups, the stimulatory effect of leptin on muscle lipid oxidation and hydrolysis was eliminated. Partial substitution of fish oil resulted only in the restoration of leptin's inhibition of TG esterification. Thus we hypothesize that, during the development of obesity, skeletal muscle becomes resistant to the effects of leptin, resulting in the accumulation of intramuscular TG. This may be an important initiating step in the development of insulin resistance common in obesity.