As demonstrated previously, liver acini draining the blood from intraportally transplanted pancreatic islets in streptozotocin-diabetic rats are altered in various respects. The hepatocytes in these acini store glycogen and/or fat, and they show an increase in proliferation as well as in apoptotic activity. Thus, they are phenotypically similar to carcinogen-induced preneoplastic liver foci (glycogen-storing foci and sometimes also mixed cell foci). By means of catalytic enzyme histochemistry or immunohistochemistry, we investigated the activity of key enzymes of alternative pathways of carbohydrate metabolism and some additional marker enzymes (well known from studies on preneoplastic hepatic foci) in the altered liver acini surrounding the islet isografts. In addition, the expression of glucose transporter proteins 1 and 2 (GLUT-1 and GLUT-2) were investigated immunohistochemically. The activities of hexokinase, pyruvate kinase, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase were increased, whereas the activities of glycogen phosphorylase, adenylate cyclase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and membrane-bound adenosine triphosphatase were decreased in the altered liver acini. The expression of GLUT-2 was also decreased. GLUT-1 and glutathione S-transferase placental form were not expressed, and the activities of glycogen synthase and gamma-glutamyl-transferase remained unchanged. All changes of the enzyme activities were in line with the well known effects of insulin and resembled alterations characteristic of preneoplastic liver foci observed in different models of hepatocarcinogenesis. It remains to be clarified in long-term experiments whether or not these foci represent preneoplastic lesions and may proceed to neoplasia.