The mechanisms underlying glomerular hypertrophy and hyperfiltration in diabetes remain unclear. We have previously demonstrated that the cytokine transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) is increased in early diabetic kidney disease and TGF-beta1 inhibits the expression of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3)-gated calcium channel, the type I IP3 receptor (IP3R), in mesangial cells. To test the hypothesis that reduced type I IP3R may be important in diabetic kidney disease, we evaluated type I IP3R expression in the kidney of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and mice. Two-week-old diabetic rats have decreased renal type I IP3R protein and mRNA levels. Immunostaining of normal rat kidney demonstrated presence of type I IP3R in glomerular and vascular smooth muscle cells, whereas diabetic rats had reduced staining in both compartments. Reduction of type I IP3R also occurred in parallel with renal hypertrophy, increased creatinine clearance, and increased renal TGF-beta1 expression in the diabetic rats. Two-week-old diabetic mice also had reduced renal type I IP3R protein and mRNA expression in association with renal hypertrophy and increased TGF-beta1 mRNA expression. These findings demonstrate that there is reduced type I IP3R in glomerular and vascular smooth muscle cells in the diabetic kidney, which may contribute to the altered renal vasoregulation and renal hypertrophy of diabetes.