Dairy cows enter a period of energy insufficiency after parturition. In liver, this energy deficit leads to reduced expression of the liver-specific GH receptor transcript (GHR1A) and decreased GHR abundance. As a consequence, hepatic processes stimulated by GH, such as IGF-I production, are reduced. In contrast, adipose tissue has been assumed to remain fully GH responsive in early lactation. To determine whether energy insufficiency causes contrasting changes in the GH responsiveness of liver and adipose tissue, six lactating dairy cows were treated for 4 days with saline or bovine GH when adequately fed (AF, 120% of total energy requirement) or underfed (UF, 30% of maintenance energy requirement). AF cows mounted robust GH responses in liver (plasma IGF-I and IGF-I mRNA) and adipose tissue (epinephrine-stimulated release of non-esterified fatty acids in plasma, IGF-I mRNA, and p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase mRNA). Reductions of these responses were seen in the liver and adipose tissue of UF cows and were associated with decreased GHR abundance. Reduced GHR abundance occurred without corresponding reductions of GHR1A transcripts in liver or total GHR transcripts in adipose tissue. In contrast, undernutrition did not alter the abundance of proteins involved in the early post-receptor signaling steps. Thus, a feed restriction reproducing the energy deficit of early lactation depresses GH actions not only in liver but also in adipose tissue. It remains unknown whether a similar reduction of GH action occurs in the adipose tissue of early lactating dairy cows. © 2007 Society for Endocrinology.