Abnormalities of microvascular function may be important in the development of diabetic microangiopathy. The major functional abnormality identified in patients with Type 2 diabetes has been a marked limitation of microvascular vasodilation, which is present from the time of diagnosis. The effects of sustained improvements in glycaemic control on vasodilator capacity in Type 2 diabetes are unknown. Twelve Type 2 diabetic patients were studied prospectively for 1 year after diagnosis. The reduced maximum hyperaemic response to local heating of the foot skin present at the time of diagnosis remained unchanged after 3 months of improved glycaemic control (1.12 +/- 0.56 V at diagnosis vs 1.21 +/- 0.69 V at 3 months, mean +/- SD; p = 0.25), but was improved after 1 year (1.42 +/- 0.91 V; p = 0.04 vs 3 months). The percentage increase in maximum hyperaemia correlated with the percentage decrease in HbA1c (rs = 0.53, p = 0.04). These results suggest that the early microvascular abnormalities demonstrated in Type 2 diabetes are potentially reversible and provide a further reason for striving for optimal glycaemic control in this patient group.