A novel immunosuppressive compound, FK-506, isolated from Streptomyces has potent immunosuppressive activities. To investigate the effect of FK-506 on the course of diabetes in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, we gave this drug to these animals, from the age of 8 weeks, intraperitoneally, in doses of 0.1 mg (2.5 mg/kg/day) or 0.01 mg (0.25 mg/kg/day) three times a week. Overt diabetes were observed in 75.5% of control mice by the age of 20 weeks. In contrast, no diabetes occurred in mice given 0.1 mg of FK-506. Sixteen percent of mice treated with 0.01 mg of the drug became diabetic. Administration of this drug prevented the progression of insulitis in NOD mice. The mice given 0.1 mg of FK-506 lost weight, but this was reversible.