Results from animal experiments have suggested that reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in tissue damage associated with diabetes. To determine whether ROS are involved in patients with diabetic nephropathy, we measured the plasma and urinary levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), an important marker of lipid peroxidation, and assessed the immunoreactivity of MDA and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in glomeruli of patients and experimental rats with diabetic nephropathy. Both plasma and urinary MDA levels were significantly higher in patients with diabetic glomerulosclerosis (DGS) than those of diabetic patients without proteinuria, proteinuric patients without diabetes, and normal controls. In DGS patients, the plasma MDA was significantly correlated with urinary MDA (p<0.05). The urinary MDA, but not plasma MDA, was significantly correlated with the degree of glomerulosclerosis and the index of mesangial expansion (both p<0.01) in DGS patients. The immunostaining score of glomerular MDA and SOD were also significantly higher in DGS patients than in control kidneys. In rats with diabetes for more than one month, the glomerular immunostaining for both MDA and SOD were also significantly higher than in controls rats, and both were increased with the progression of diabetes. Our results suggest that oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis and the progression of DGS.