Recent studies implicate neuronal guidance molecules in the orchestration of inflammatory events. For example, previous studies demonstrate a functional role for netrin-1 in attenuating acute kidney injury. Here, we hypothesized a kidney-protective role for netrin-1 during chronic kidney disease, such as occurs during diabetic nephropathy. To study the role of netrin-1 during diabetic nephropathy, we induced diabetes in mice at the age of 8 weeks by streptocotozin (STZ) treatment. Sixteen weeks after STZ treatment, we examined the kidneys. Initial studies in wild-type mice demonstrated robust induction of renal, urinary, and plasma netrin-1 protein levels during diabetic nephropathy. Subsequent genetic studies in mice with partial netrin-1 deficiency (Ntrn1(+/-) mice) revealed a more severe degree of diabetic nephropathy, including more severe loss of kidney function (albuminuria, glomerular filtration rate, histology). We subsequently performed pharmacologic studies with recombinant netrin-1 treatment given continuously via osmotic pump. Indeed, netrin-1 treatment was associated with attenuated albuminuria and improved histologic scores for diabetic nephropathy compared to controls. Consistent with previous studies implicating purinergic signaling in netrin-1-elicited tissue protection, mice deficient in the Adora2b adenosine receptor were not protected. Taken together, these studies demonstrate a functional role for endogenous netrin-1 in attenuating diabetic kidney disease.