Vitamin E was administered to non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice to determine if the selective destruction of pancreatic beta cells leading to Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus could be halted by virtue of this vitamin's free oxygen radical scavenger activity. Two groups of NOD mice were treated from 3 weeks of age until 30 weeks of age with either diet supplemented with vitamin E or control diet. Diabetes incidence was recorded as well as the degree of lymphocytic infiltration of the pancreas (insulitis) in animals which did not develop diabetes. Vitamin E did not reduce the incidence of diabetes by 30 weeks of age, however it did significantly delay the onset of the disease (p < 0.01--parallelism test). There were no differences in the degree of insulitis with respect to control mice. We conclude that antioxidant therapy with Vitamin E delays diabetes onset in NOD mice without having an apparent effect on the autoimmune process.