Sorbitol accumulation is postulated to play a role in skeletal muscle dysfunction associated with diabetes. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of insulin and of endurance exercise on skeletal muscle sorbitol levels in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Rats were assigned to one experimental group (control sedentary, control exercise, diabetic sedentary, diabetic exercise, diabetic sedentary no-insulin). Diabetic rats received daily subcutaneous insulin. The exercise-trained rats ran on a treadmill (1 hour, 5X/wk, for 12 weeks). Skeletal muscle sorbitol levels were the highest in the diabetic sedentary no-insulin group. Diabetic sedentary rats receiving insulin had similar sorbitol levels to control sedentary rats. Endurance exercise did not significantly affect sorbitol levels. These results indicate that insulin treatment lowers sorbitol in skeletal muscle; therefore sorbitol accumulation is probably not related to muscle dysfunction in insulin-treated diabetic individuals. Endurance exercise did not influence intramuscular sorbitol values as strongly as insulin.