We hypothesize that, in kidney of diabetic rats, hepatocyte nuclear factors (HNF-1alpha and HNF-3beta) play a critical role in the overexpression of solute carrier 2A2 (SLC2A2) gene. Diabetic rats submitted or not to rapid (up to 12h) and short-term (1, 4 and 6 days) insulin treatment were investigated. Twofold increase in GLUT2 mRNA was observed in diabetic, accompanied by significant increases in HNF-1alpha and HNF-3beta expression and binding activity. Additional 2-fold increase in GLUT2 mRNA and HNF-3beta expression/activity was observed in 12-h insulin-treated rats. Six-day insulin treatment decreased GLUT2 mRNA and HNF-1alpha expression and activity to levels of non-diabetic rats, whereas HNF-3beta decreased to levels of non-insulin-treated diabetic rats. Our results provide evidence for a link between the overexpression of SLC2A2 gene and the transcriptional activity of HNF-1alpha and HNF-3beta in kidney of diabetic rats. Furthermore, recovery of SLC2A2 gene after 6-day insulin treatment also involves HNF-1alpha and HNF-3beta activity.