Early renal changes in type I diabetes are characterized by an increase in renal size, glomerular volume, and kidney function, and later by development of mesangial proliferation, accumulation of glomerular extracellular matrix, and increased urinary albumin excretion (UAE). Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) have a long and distinguished history in diabetes mellitus, with possible participation in the development of long-term complications. In experimental diabetes in dwarf rats with isolated GH and IGF-I deficiency, a slower and lesser renal and glomerular hypertrophy is observed as compared with diabetic control animals with intact pituitary. Furthermore, diabetic dwarf rats with a diabetes duration of 6 months display a smaller increase in UAE, indicating that GH and IGF-I may be involved in the development of diabetic kidney changes. In line with this, administration of octreotide to streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic animals with normal pituitary inhibits initial renal growth without affecting blood glucose levels, and 6 months' administration of octreotide to diabetic rats reduces long-term renal/glomerular hypertrophy and UAE. In addition, the initial increase in renal size and function in experimental diabetes is preceded by an increase in renal IGF-I, IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs), and IGF-II/mannose-6-phosphate receptor (IGF-II/Man6-P receptor) concentration. Finally, specific changes occur in renal GH-binding protein (GHBP) mRNA, IGF-I receptor mRNA, and IGFBP mRNA expression in long-term diabetes. In conclusion, the knowledge we have today indicates that GH and IGFs, through a complex system consisting of GHBP, IGFs, IGF receptors, and IGFBPs, may be responsible for both early and late renal changes in experimental diabetes.