Although insulin resistance in skeletal muscle is well-characterized, the role of circulating whole blood in the metabolic syndrome phenotype is not well understood. We set out to test the hypothesis that genes involved in inflammation, insulin signaling and mitochondrial function would be altered in expression in the whole blood of individuals with metabolic syndrome. We further wanted to examine whether similar relationships that we have found previously in skeletal muscle exist in peripheral whole blood cells. All subjects (n=184) were Latino descent from the Arizona Insulin Resistance registry. Subjects were classified based on the metabolic syndrome phenotype according to the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III. Of the 184 Latino subjects in the study, 74 were classified with the metabolic syndrome and 110 were without. Whole blood gene expression profiling was performed using the Agilent 4x44K Whole Human Genome Microarray. Whole blood microarray analysis identified 1,432 probes that were altered in expression ≥1.2 fold and P<0.05 after Benjamini-Hochberg in the metabolic syndrome subjects. KEGG pathway analysis revealed significant enrichment for pathways including ribosome, oxidative phosphorylation and MAPK signaling (all Benjamini-Hochberg P<0.05). Whole blood mRNA expression changes observed in the microarray data were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. Transcription factor binding motif enrichment analysis revealed E2F1, ELK1, NF-kappaB, STAT1 and STAT3 significantly enriched after Bonferroni correction (all P<0.05). The results of the present study demonstrate that whole blood is a useful tissue for studying the metabolic syndrome and its underlying insulin resistance although the relationship between blood and skeletal muscle differs.