There is some controversy concerning a possible effect of diabetes mellitus on the sympathetic nervous system in humans with spontaneous diabetes mellitus and in animals with experimental diabetes mellitus. In this study we compared the tissue norepinephrine (NE) concentration of normal and diabetic Chinese hamsters in the untreated state and after treatment with insulin. Diabetes resulted in a 128% increase in the NE concentration of the kidney in female but not male hamsters. The NE concentration was increased in the liver (133%) and in the cerebral cortex (118%) of both male and female hamsters. There was no significant increase in the NE concentration of hypothalamus, acinar pancreas, pancreatic islets, or heart of diabetic hamsters. Three days of insulin therapy reduced the elevated NE concentration in kidney, liver and cerebral cortex of diabetic hamsters to the levels found in normal hamsters. However, insulin therapy of normal hamsters did not reduce the tissue NE concentration of the kidney, liver, and cerebral cortex below the normal levels found in these animals. Insulin therapy reduced the hypothalamic concentration of NE in both diabetic and normal hamsters. The increase in kidney NE concentration in female diabetic hamsters was not due to a reduction in renal size, for the kidneys of both female and male diabetic hamsters were larger than those of normal hamsters. When synthesis of NE was inhibited with α-methyltyrosine, there was a comparable rate of fall in the tissue NE concentration in the four experimental groups, suggesting that the increased tissue NE concentration in the tissues of diabetic hamsters was not due to a decreased rate of disappearance of this compound. We conclude that insulin deficiency in diabetes mellitus probably causes an increased rate of NE synthesis in some tissues of the Chinese hamster.