Subacute cadmium treatment (CdCl2, 1 mg/kg twice daily for 7 days) in rats disturbs glucose homeostasis as shown by hyperglycemia and decreased glucose tolerance associated with suppression of insulin release, enhancement of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes and decrease in hepatic glycogen content. 2 Exposure to cadmium increases hepatic cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cyclic AMP) and this is accompanied by stimulation of basal, adrenaline- as well as glucagon-stimulated form(s) of adenylate cyclase. 3 In contrast to cadmium, subacute administration of zinc (ZnCl2, 2 mg/kg twice daily for 7 days) fails to alter the activities of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes, cyclic AMP synthesis, as well as glucose clearance and insulin release in response to a glucose load. 4 Zinc, when administered at the same time as cadmium, prevents the cadmium-induced lesions in both hepatic and pancreatic functions. 5 The results are discussed in relation to the possible mechanisms of cadmium toxicity and to the role of sulphydryl groups in the protection exercised by zinc.