Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat, a rodent model of spontaneously occurring non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), exhibits impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. To explore the background of the beta-cell dysfunction in NIDDM, we investigated whether and how the expression pattern of factors that would potentially be involved in the glucose-stimulated insulin secretion machinery is changed in GK rats. Using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) method, we found that the gene expression of CD38, a type 2 membrane protein which has ADP-ribosyl cyclase activity, is reduced by approximately 50% in islets of GK rats. Despite previous studies showing reduction in the FAD-linked mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (mGPDH) activity in GK rats, the mGPDH mRNA amounts were equal to those in the control Wistar rats, suggesting a difference that arose post-transcriptionally. These observations support the idea that multiple defects of the glucose-responsive insulin secreting machinery are involved in the development of diabetes in GK rats.