Circulating interleukin (IL)-18 is elevated in obesity, but paradoxically causes hypophagia. We hypothesized that IL-18 may attenuate high-fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We studied mice with a global deletion of the a-isoform of the IL-18 receptor (IL-18R-/-) fed a standard chow or HFD. We next performed gain-of-function experiments in skeletal muscle, in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo. We show that IL-18 is implicated in metabolic homeostasis, inflammation, and insulin resistance via mechanisms involving the activation of AMPK in skeletal muscle. IL-18R-/- mice display increased weight gain, ectopic lipid deposition, inflammation, and reduced AMPK signaling in skeletal muscle. Treating myotubes or skeletal muscle strips with IL-18 activated AMPK and increased fat oxidation. Moreover, in vivo electroporation of IL-18 into skeletal muscle activated AMPK and concomitantly inhibited HFD-induced weight gain. In summary, IL-18 enhances AMPK signaling and lipid oxidation in skeletal muscle implicating IL-18 in metabolic homeostasis. © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.