Based on our new concept that inhibitors of the Na(+)-glucose cotransporter (SGLT) would be useful as antidiabetics, 4'-dehydroxyphlorizin derivatives 1a--f were designed, synthesized, and examined for various pharmacological properties related to antidiabetic activity. In normal rats, 1a, e and phlorizin showed a strong SGLT-inhibitory effect and significantly increased urinary glucose on intraperitoneal administration at 10 mg/kg, though only 1a resulted in excretion of large quantities of urinary glucose on oral administration at 100 mg/kg. Compounds 1a, e, and phlorizin markedly inhibited glucose uptake in the small intestine during enteric perfusion in normal rats. Compound 1a had a significant reducing effect on blood glucose in the glucose tolerance test in mice when administered orally and also lowered blood glucose in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The aglycons 2a, e of 1a, e, and 1a showed weak inhibitory effects on the facilitated glucose transporter-1 (GLUT-1) in human erythrocytes, while phloretin had a strong inhibitory effect on GLUT-1. Compound 1a caused no apparent renal damage in rats when administered orally at 1 g/kg for 4 successive weeks. Thus, 1a was considered to be a promising candidate as a lead compound for antidiabetics of a new type, and was selected for further pharmacological evaluation.