Catalpol, a major bioactive component from Rehmannia glutinosa, which has been used to treat diabetes. The present study was designed to elucidate the anti-diabetic effect and mechanism of action for catalpol in db/db mice. The db/db mice were randomly divided into six groups (10/group) according to their blood glucose levels: db/db control, metformin (positive control), and four dose levels of catalpol treatment (25, 50, 100, and 200 mg·kg -1), and 10 db/m mice were used as the normal control. All the groups were administered orally for 8 weeks. The levels of fasting blood glucose (FBG), random blood glucose (RBG), glucose tolerance, insulin tolerance, and glycated serum protein (GSP) and the globe gene expression in liver tissues were analyzed. Our results showed that catalpol treatment obviously reduced water intake and food intake in a dose-dependent manner. Catalpol treatment also remarkably reduce fasting blood glucose (FBG) and random blood glucose (RBG) in a dose-dependent manner. The RBG-lowering effect of catal-pol was better than that of metformin. Furthermore, catalpol significantly improved glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance via increasing insulin sensitivity. Catalpol treatment significantly decreased GSP level. The comparisons of gene expression in liver tissues among normal control mice, db/db mice and catalpol treated mice (200 and 100 mg·kg -1) indicated that there were significant increases in the expressions of 287 genes, whichwere mainly involved in lipid metabolism, response to stress, energy metabolism, and cellular processes, and significant decreases in the expressions of 520 genes, which were mainly involved in cell growth, death, immune system, and response to stress. Four genes expressed differentially were linked to glucose metabolism or insulin signaling pathways, including Irs1 (insulin receptor substrate 1), Idh2 (isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (NADP +), mitochondrial), G6pd2 (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase 2), and SOCS3 (suppressor of cytokine signaling 3). In conclusion, catalpol ecerted significant hypoglycemic effect and remarkable therapeutic effect in db/db mice via modulating various gene expressions.