To investigate the intrarenal endothelin 1 (ET-1) synthesis in streptozocin (STZ) diabetic rats with moderate hyperglycemia, we measured plasma ET-1, renal ET-1 mRNA, and renal tissue ET-1 levels. The renal ET-1 mRNA expression progressively decreased from the 2nd to the 6th week after induction of diabetes by STZ. The renal ET-1 mRNA expression and the renal tissue ET-1 content were significantly reduced in 8 diabetic rats with a mean blood glucose level of 21.0 ± 0.4 m M as compared with 7 normal rats sacrificed at the 6th week after STZ or citric buffer injection. The reduction of renal ET-1 and mRNA levels was ameliorated in 9 diabetic rats with a mean blood glucose level of 6.9 ± 0.7 m M after strict glycemic control by insulin treatment. Kidney weight and glomerular filtration rate in moderately hyperglycemic rats were significantly increased as compared with normal rats at the 6th week after STZ injection. The mean plasma ET-1 levels in moderately hyperglycemic diabetic rats were not different from those of the other two groups. This study demonstrates that moderate hyperglycemia in diabetic rats is associated with a reduction in renal ET-1 synthesis. Whether decreased renal ET-1 synthesis is an adapative phenomenon of a renal hemodynamic change during the early stage of diabetes is worthy of further investigation.