NOD (non-obese diabetic) mice develop type 1 diabetes mellitus spontaneously and with a strong similarity to the human disease. Differentiation and function of pancreas beta cells are regulated by a variety of hormones and growth factors, including the nerve growth factor (NGF). Gangliosides have multiple immunomodulatory activities with immunosuppressive properties, decreasing lymphoproliferative responses and modulating cytokine production. In the present study, serum, pancreas islets and spleen mononuclear cells from NOD mice treated with monosialic ganglioside GM1 (100 mg/kg/day) and the group control which received saline solution were isolated to investigate the proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta, IFN-gamma, IL-12, TNF-alpha), NGF and its high-affinity receptor TrkA, peri-islet Schwann cells components (GFAP, S100-beta) expression and the relationship with diabetes onset and morphological aspects. Our results suggest that GM1 administration to female NOD mice beginning at the 4th week of life is able to reduce the index of inflammatory infiltrate and consequently the expression of diabetes, modulating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-12, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-1beta). Furthermore, GM1 increases GFAP, S-100beta and NGF in pancreas islets, factors involved in beta cell survival.