Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) leads to a reduction in nephron endowment at birth and is linked to renal dysfunction in adulthood. The aim of the present study was to determine whether kidneys of IUGR rat offspring are more vulnerable to a secondary insult of hyperglycemia. IUGR was induced in Wistar-Kyoto rats by maternal protein restriction. At 24 wk of age, diabetes was induced in male IUGR and non-IUGR offspring by streptozotocin injection; insulin was injected daily to maintain blood glucose levels at either a mild (7-10 mmol/l; n=8/group) or a moderate (10-15 mmol/l; n=8/group) level. At 32 wk of age, renal function was assessed using ultrasound and [(3)H]inulin and [(14)C]para-aminohippurate clearance techniques. Conscious mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate were unchanged in IUGR offspring. Relative kidney length was increased significantly in IUGR offspring, and renal function was altered significantly; of importance, there was a significant increase in filtration fraction, indicative of glomerular hyperfiltration. Induction of hyperglycemia led to marked impairment of renal function. However, the response to hyperglycemia was not different between IUGR and non-IUGR offspring. Maintaining blood glucose levels at a mild hyperglycemic level led to marked improvement in all measures of renal function in IUGR and non-IUGR offspring. In conclusion, while the IUGR offspring showed evidence of hyperfiltration, the response to hyperglycemia was similar in IUGR and non-IUGR kidneys in adulthood. Importantly, maintaining blood glucose levels at a mild hyperglycemic level markedly attenuated the renal dysfunction associated with diabetes, even in IUGR offspring.