Stress proteins (heat shock proteins, HSP) play essential roles in folding, assembly and translocation of polypeptides and also in maintenance of the integrity of polypeptides as molecular chaperones. Since long-lasting hyperglycemia causes modification of cellular proteins, it is possible that expression of molecular chaperones may be altered during the course of diabetes. Here, we examined the cellular levels of stress proteins such as HSP105, HSP90 and HSC70/HSP70 in various tissues of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. In comparison to controls, the levels of HSC70 were markedly decreased in the liver but not in the brain, adrenal gland and pancreas of diabetic rats. The levels of HSP105 and HSP90 were not significantly changed in these tissues of diabetic rats. Furthermore, the induction of HSP70 as well as HSC70 by hyperthermia was significantly reduced in the liver and adrenal gland of diabetic rats. These results suggested that the expression and induction of HSC70/HSP70 may be altered during the course of diabetic disease and may result in impairment of the cytoprotective ability of diabetic rats.