Deficiency in the vasorelaxant capacity is a result of an oxidative stress in diabetic animals and seems to be an etiological factor of vascular complications of diabetes. The present study was designed to examine whether resveratrol (RSV), a polyphenolic compound which is naturally present in grape and red wine, has a protective effect on diabetic aorta. Resveratrol (5 mg/kg/d, i.p.) was administered for 42 d to streptozotocin (STZ) (60 mg/kg) induced diabetic rats. Loss of weight, hyperglycemia, and elevated levels of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) were observed in diabetic rats. Resveratrol treatment was significantly effective for these metabolic and biochemical abnormalities. The contractile responses of the aorta were recorded. Compared with control subjects, the aorta showed significantly enhanced contractile responses to noradrenaline (NA), but not to potassium chloride (KCl), in diabetic rats. Treatment of diabetic rats with resveratrol significantly reversed the increases in responsiveness and sensitivity of aorta to noradrenaline. In diabetic aorta, the relaxation response to acetylcholine (Ach) was found to be significantly decreased compared with control subjects, and resveratrol treatment reversed this; no such change was observed in the relaxation response to sodium nitroprusside (SNP). These results indicated that resveratrol significantly improved not only glucose metabolism and oxidative injury but also impaired vascular responses in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.