Diabetes can induce a bewildering list of sensory changes, including alteration in pain sensitivity. Painful diabetic neuropathy is refractory to most common analgesics. This study examined the effect of a p38alpha MAPK inhibitor, SD-282, on mechanical allodynia, thermal hyperalgesia, and formalin-evoked nociception in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Four-week diabetic rats exhibited mechanical allodynia, decreased mechanical thresholds, and C- and Adelta-fiber mediated thermal hyperalgesia. Mechanical and thermal responses were measured in diabetic rats following acute and repeated intraperitoneal administration of vehicle, 15 or 45 mg/kg SD-282. Mechanical allodynia was reversed by acute and repeated administration of 15 and 45 mg/kg SD-282. Repeated administration of 15 or 45 mg/kg SD-282 prevented the exacerbation of C-, but not Adelta-fiber, mediated thermal hyperalgesia. Repeated administration of 45 mg/kg SD-282 attenuated flinching behaviors during the quiescent period and the second phase of the formalin response in diabetic rats. Acute and repeated administration of 15 or 45 mg/kg SD-282 had no effect on mechanical, thermal or formalin responses in age-matched control rats. These results indicate a potential therapeutic value of p38alpha MAPK inhibitors in the treatment of aberrant pain sensitivity produced by diabetes.