1. Macrophage accumulation is a feature of Type 2 diabetes and is associated with the development of diabetic complications (nephropathy, atherosclerosis, neuropathy and retinopathy). The present article reviews the current evidence that macrophages contribute to the complications of Type 2 diabetes. 2. Macrophage-depletion studies in rodent models have demonstrated a causal role for macrophages in the development of diabetic complications. 3. Components of the diabetic milieu (high glucose, advanced glycation end-products and oxidized low-density lipoprotein) promote macrophage accumulation (via induction of chemokines and adhesion molecules) and macrophage activation within diabetic tissues. 4. Macrophages mediate diabetic injury through a variety of mechanisms, including production of reactive oxygen species, cytokines and proteases, which result in tissue damage leading to sclerosis. 5. A number of existing and experimental therapies can indirectly reduce macrophage-mediated injury in diabetic complications. The present article discusses the use of these therapies, given alone and in combination, in suppressing macrophage accumulation and activity. 6. In conclusion, current evidence supports a critical role for macrophages in the evolution of diabetic complications. Present therapies are limited in slowing the progression of macrophage-mediated injury. Novel strategies that are more specific at targeting macrophages may provide better protection against the development of Type 2 diabetic complications.