The previous characterization of an abundant population of non- adrenergic imidazoline-I2 binding sites in adipocytes and the recent demonstration of the interplay between these binding sites and amine oxidases led us to analyze the amine oxidase activity in membranes from isolated rat adipoeytes. Adipocyte membranes had substantial levels of semicarbazide- sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO). SSAO activity and immunoreactive SSAO protein were maximal in plasma membranes, and they were also detectable in intracellular membranes. Vesicle immunoisolation analysis indicated that GLUT4-containing vesicles from rat adipocytes contain substantial levels of SSAO activity and immunoreactive SSAO protein. Immunotitration of intracellular GLUT4 vesicles indicated that GLUT4 and SSAO colocalize in an endosomal compartment in rat adipocytes. SSAO activity was also found in GLUT4 vesicles from 3T3-L1 adipocytes and rat skeletal muscle. Benzylamine, a substrate of SSAO activity, caused a marked stimulation of glucose transport in isolated rat adipocytes in the presence of very low vanadate concentrations that by themselves were ineffective in exerting insulin-like effects. This synergistic effect of benzylamine and vanadate on glucose transport was totally abolished in the presence of semicarbaxidse, a specific inhibitor of SSAO. Subcellular membrane fractionation revealed that the combination of benzylamine and vanadate caused a recruitment of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane of adipose cells. The stimulatory effects of bonzylamine and vanadate on glucose transport were blocked by catalase, suggesting that hydrogen peroxide production coupled to SSAO activity plays a crucial regulatory role. Based on these results we propose that SSAO activity might contribute through hydrogen peroxide production to the in vivo regulation of GLUT4 trafficking in adipose cells.