The etiology of bone loss in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is still unknown. We compared serum biochemical parameters and bone parameters of genetically diabetic db/db mice with those of their control non-diabetic +/+ mice. We found that serum corticosterone levels of the db/db mice were significantly elevated after 5 weeks while bone mineral density of femur metaphysis significantly decreased in the db/db mice after 12 weeks of age compared with age matched +/+ mice. To explore the causal relationship between the serum corticosterone levels and the bone loss, metyrapone (100 mg/kg, p.o., twice a day), a glucocorticoid synthesis inhibitor, was administered to these mice for 4 weeks after the age of 8 weeks. The compound significantly decreased serum corticosterone levels in both strains. Metyrapone prevented bone loss by increasing the bone mineral content of the metaphysis in the db/db mice. In addition, the treatment slightly improved the ratio of ash weight to dry weight in the db/db mice. These results suggest that increased serum corticosterone levels are concerned with the etiology of bone loss in non-insulin dependent diabetic db/db mice.