Oxygen free radicals have been implicated in mediating diabetic complications, and patients with diabetic nephropathy frequently show increased levels of circulating and oxidized low–density lipoproteins (LDL). In the present study, we measured the superoxide production of glomeruli isolated from poorly controlled diabetic (streptozotocin) rats sacrificed 1 week and 1, and 3 months after the induction of diabetes. The animals were stimulated with native and oxidized LDL isolated from normal humans with normolipidemia. The superoxide ion was measured by using a spectrophotometer. The results demonstrated that the poorly controlled diabetic rat glomeruli showed a significantly higher production of superoxide than normal glomeruli under basal conditions, and this production increased further with the progression of diabetes. Stimulation with either LDL or oxidized LDL enhanced superoxide production by diabetic glomeruli, with oxidized LDL being more potent than LDL. Our results suggest that oxidized LDL may play important roles in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy through enhanced generation of oxygen free radicals.