Oxidative stress plays an important role in diabetic vascular dysfunction. The sources and regulation of reactive oxygen species production in diabetic vasculature continue to be defined. Because peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) ligands reduced superoxide anion (O(2)(-.)) generation in vascular endothelial cells in vitro by reducing NADPH oxidase and increasing Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) expression, the current study examined the effect of PPARgamma ligands on vascular NADPH oxidase and O(2)(-.) generation in vivo. Lean control (db(+)/db(-)) and obese, diabetic, leptin receptor-deficient (db(-)/db(-)) mice were treated with either vehicle or rosiglitazone (3 mg/kg/day) by gavage for 7-days. Compared to controls, db(-)/db(-) mice weighed more and had metabolic derangements that were not corrected by treatment with rosiglitazone for 1-week. Aortic O(2)(-.) generation and mRNA levels of the NADPH oxidase subunits, Nox-1, Nox-2, and Nox-4 as well as Nox-4 protein expression were elevated in db(-)/db(-) compared to db(+)/db(-) mice, whereas aortic Cu/Zn SOD protein and PPARgamma mRNA levels were reduced in db(-)/db(-) mice. Treatment with rosiglitazone for 1-week significantly reduced aortic O(2)(-.) production and the expression of Nox-1, 2, and 4 but failed to increase Cu/Zn SOD or PPARgamma in aortic tissue from db(-)/db(-) mice. These data demonstrate that the vascular expression of Nox-1, 2, and 4 subunits of NADPH oxidase is increased in db(-)/db(-) mice and that short-term treatment with the PPARgamma agonist, rosiglitazone, has the potential to rapidly suppress vascular NADPH oxidase expression and O(2)(-.) production through mechanisms that do not appear to depend on correction of diabetic metabolic derangements.