Recent evidence suggests that the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system (RAS) may play an important role in the development of glomerular changes associated with diabetic nephropathy. In this study, the glomerular RAS was examined in male Sprague-Dawley rats made diabetic with streptozotocin (STZ), and the findings compared with those obtained in control nondiabetic rats. In diabetic rat glomerular extracts, angiotensinogen and angiotensin II (ANG II) levels were increased significantly by 2.2- and 1.9-fold, respectively, compared with nondiabetic controls. No significant differences in ANG I and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) levels were observed between these groups. The HPLC analysis of the glomerular extracts demonstrated that exogenous ANG I was converted into various ANG peptides including ANG II, ANG1-9, and ANG1-7. A significant increase in formation of ANG II from exogenous ANG I was observed in STZ rats compared with control rats. Preincubation of glomerular extracts with captopril resulted in a 20-30% decrease in ANG II conversion from exogenous ANG I in diabetic and control rats. The possible role of ANG1-9 in formation of ANG II was examined by HPLC. Exogenous ANG1-9 in glomerular extracts was converted into ANG II, this conversion being significantly higher in STZ rats than in control rats. These findings provide new information that ANG1-9 is produced in rat glomerular extracts, can be converted to ANG II, and that this conversion is also stimulated in diabetic rat glomeruli. Thus this study demonstrates that in diabetic rats, glomerular ANG II levels are increased due to an increase in angiotensinogen and an increase in the formation of ANG II.