It has been suggested that the increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the resultant increase in the tissue catecholamine levels contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes. In this study we evaluated the effect of clonidine, a central adrenergic agonist that decreases sympathetic tone, on the serum levels of glucose, insulin, glucagon and norepinephrine and on the hepatic glycogen content in normal and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. The animals were treated with clonidine 25 µg/kg/day interperitoneally for 3 weeks to suppress the central adrenergic impulses. Clonidine treatment significantly increased the weight gain, but did not affect plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon and norepinephrine in the diabetic animals. Pancreatic insulin and liver glycogen contents were significantly higher in the clonidine-treated than in the untreated diabetic rats. However, clonidine did not affect pancreatic insulin and liver glycogen content of nondiabetic animals. The intravenous administration of glucagon increased plasma glucose in the clonidine-treated, but not in the saline-treated diabetic rats. Insulin-induced hypoglycemia significantly enhanced glucagon release in clonidine-treated but not in saline-treated diabetic rats. We conclude that the suppression of central adrenergic activity may ameliorate the effects of insulin insufficiency on pancreatic hormone secretion and hepatic glycogen content.