We have studied the activity of system A transport in skeletal muscle during experimental diabetes. Five days after streptozotocin injection, rats showed a marked hyperglycemia and a substantial decrease in the content of GLUT-4 protein in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Under these conditions, basal uptake of 2-(methyl)aminoisobutyric acid (MeAIB), an index of system A transport activity, was enhanced in extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles from diabetic rats compared to controls. Furthermore, insulin-stimulated MeAIB uptake by the incubated EDL and soleus muscles was markedly greater in diabetic than in control rats. The derepressive phase of adaptive regulation was partially blocked in the diabetic muscle, and incubation of muscles for 3 h in the absence of amino acids led to a lower stimulation of system A transport activity in muscles from diabetic groups compared to controls. We propose that the activated system A might participate in the enhanced alanine release from muscle cells that occurs in diabetes.