It has recently been observed that administration of bradykinin to diabetic patients improves peripheral glucose utilization. To verify whether there is an alteration of the kallikrein-kinin system in human diabetes, plasma kallikrein activity was measured in 47 diabetic patients and in 20 control subjects. In diabetics plasma kallikrein activity was significantly higher than in controls: 1.04 +/- 0.04 U/ml (p less than 0.001). Although they do not refute the hypothesis that there is an alteration of the kallikrein-kinin system in diabetes mellitus, these findings do not support such a hypothesis either. Increased synthesis of plasma kallikrein activity may be due to increased synthesis of carbohydrate-protein compounds in diabetes mellitus.