The objective of the present study was to investigate the possible neuroprotective effect of resveratrol against streptozotocin-induced hyperglycaemia in the rat brain and medulla spinalis. Thirty adult male Wistar rats were divided into three groups as follows: control group, streptozotocin-induced diabetic-untreated group, and streptozotocin-induced diabetic resveratrol-treated group. Diabetes was induced by a single injection of streptozotocin (STZ) (60 mg/kg body weight). Three days after streptozotocin injection, resveratrol (10 mg/kg) was injected intraperiteonally daily over 6 weeks to the rats in the treatment group. Six weeks later, seven rats from each group were killed and the brain stem and cervical spinal cord were removed. The hippocampus, cortex, cerebellum, brain stem and spinal cord were dissected for biochemical studies (lipid peroxidation measuring malondialdehyde [MDA], xanthine oxidase [XO], nitric oxide [NO] and glutathione). MDA, XO and NO levels in hippocampus, cortex, cerebellum, brain stem and spinal cord in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic-untreated group increased significantly. Treatment with resveratrol significantly reduced MDA, XO and NO production and increased glutathione levels when compared to the streptozotocin-induced diabetic-untreated group. This study demonstrates that resveratrol is a potent neuroprotective agent against diabetic oxidative damage. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.