The molecular basis of insulin resistance induced by HIV protease inhibitors (HPIs) remains unclear. In this study, Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with high levels of human insulin receptor (CHO-IR) and 3T3-L1 adipocytes were used to elucidate the mechanism of this side effect. Indinavir and nelfinavir induced a significant decrease in tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor β-subunit. Indinavir caused a significant increase in the phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) on serine 307 (S307) in both CHO-IR cells and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Nelfinavir also inhibited phosphorylation of Map/ERK kinase without affecting insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation. Concomitantly, levels of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), suppressor of cytokines signaling-1 and -3 (SOCS-1 and -3), Src homology 2B (SH2B) and adapter protein with a pleckstrin homology domain and an SH2 domain (APS) were not altered significantly. When CHO-IR cells were pre-treated with sodium salicylate (NaSal), the effects of indinavir on tyrosine phosphorylation of the IR β-subunit and phosphorylation of IRS-1 at S307 were abrogated. These data suggest a potential role for the NFκB pathway in insulin resistance induced by HPIs. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 1729–1737, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.