The present study was undertaken to determine plasma adrenomedullin levels in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) to elucidate the potential involvement in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. The patients were 24 males and 21 females with ages of 55 +/- 2.1 years (mean +/- SEM). Plasma adrenomedullin levels were 5.94 +/- 0.44 pmol/l in patients with NIDDM, and were not affected by plasma glucose concentration. The plasma adrenomedullin increased dependent on the severity of diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. Plasma levels of adrenomedullin positively correlated with various parameters, including serum creatinine levels, urinary excretion of protein, and systolic blood pressure. In contrast, there were negative correlations between the coefficient variation (CV) of RR intervals and plasma adrenomedullin, and between the conduction velocity of ulnar nerves and plasma adrenomedullin levels. These results indicate that the increase in plasma adrenomedullin was closely related to diabetic complications, which may be dependent on the development of microangiopathy.