Ghrelin, an orexigenic peptide produced in the stomach, is increased in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic (DM) mice. This study clarifies the regulation of ghrelin levels by leptin in STZ-DM mice. STZ-DM mice had higher plasma ghrelin concentrations and greater ghrelin mRNA expression than control mice. Changes in ghrelin levels were dose dependently attenuated by the subcutaneous injection of leptin (0-27 nmol x kg(-1) x day(-1) over 7 days). Leptin treatment also partially reversed the hyperphagia and hyperglycemia observed in STZ-DM mice, but not the hypoinsulinemia, and there was a decrease in plasma ghrelin concentrations and ghrelin mRNA levels compared with STZ-LEP pair-fed mice. These results indicate that leptin treatment partially reverses elevated plasma ghrelin levels in STZ-DM mice independent of food intake and insulin, and suggest that hypoleptinemia in STZ-DM mice upregulates ghrelin.