Calorie restriction [CR; ∼40% below ad libitum (AL) intake] improves the health of many species, including rats, by mechanisms that may be partly related to enhanced insulin sensitivity for glucose disposal by skeletal muscle. Excessive activation of several mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including JNK1/2, p38, and ERK1/2 has been linked to insulin resistance. Although insulin can activate ERK1/2, this effect is not required for insulin-mediated glucose uptake. We hypothesized that skeletal muscle from male 9-mo-old Fischer 344/Brown Norway rats CR (35-40% beginning at 3 mo old) versus AL rats would have 1) attenuated activation of JNK1/2, p38, and ERK1/2 under basal conditions; and 2) no difference for insulin-induced ERK1/2 activation. In contrast to our hypothesis, there were significant CR-related increases in the phosphorylation of p38 (epitrochlearis, soleus, and gastrocnemius), JNK1 (epitrochlearis and soleus), and JNK2 (gastrocnemius). Consistent with our hypothesis, CR did not alter insulin-mediated ERK1/2 activation. The greater JNK1/2 and p38 phosphorylation with CR was not attributable to diet effects on muscle oxidative stress (assessed by protein carbonyls and 4-hydroxynonenal protein conjugates). In muscles from the same rats used for the present study, we previously reported a CR-related increase in insulin-mediated glucose uptake by the epitrochlearis and the soleus (Sharma N, Arias EB, Bhat AD, Sequea DA, Ho S, Croff KK, Sajan MP, Farese RV, Cartee GD. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 300: E966-E978, 2011). The present results indicate that the improved insulin sensitivity with CR is not attributable to attenuated MAPK phosphorylation in skeletal muscle.