We studied renal autoregulation in nondiabetic and streptozotocin diabetic Münich-Wistar rats 6 weeks after diabetes induction. We had previously shown that diabetic rats had greater preservation of renal blood flow (RBF) at reduced renal perfusion pressures (RPP) than control rats and speculated that this could be due to higher protein intake in the diabetic rats. Because of hyperphagia, the diabetic rats in the present study on a 24% protein diet (D-24) had 70% or greater increase in dietary protein intake compared to controls on the same diet (C-24). Diabetic rats on a 14% protein diet (D-14) had a dietary protein intake similar to C-24 and less than that of D-24 animals. Baseline glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal blood flow were lower and renal vascular resistance (RVR) was higher in the D-14 compared to the C-24 or D-24 rats. Nonetheless, at markedly reduced RPP both diabetic groups had better sustained RBFs and lower RVRs than the controls. Thus, increased dietary protein intake cannot explain the autoregulatory abnormalities in diabetes. Bilateral carotid artery ligation increased systemic blood pressure similarly in the C-24, D-24, and D-14 rats. All three groups responded with increased RVR to carotid artery ligation. Following carotid artery ligation, differences were no longer seen between diabetic and control rats for RBF at reduced RPPs. These studies indicate that diabetic rats are capable of generating increased RVR, ruling out impaired vascular constrictive capacity as an explanation of these hemodynamic abnormalities. It is hypothesized that carotid artery ligation resulted in sympathic stimulation of intrarenal renin release which overcame the decreased glomerular angiotensin II receptor density in diabetic rats, thus normalizing the renal vascular responses to hypoperfusion.