An examination was made of the effect of different periods of experimental diabetes on the activity of the pentose phosphate pathway in rat kidney. A rapid increase in kidney weight, expressed both in absolute terms and in terms of body weight, occurred shortly after the induction of diabetes. The activity of the enzymes of the oxidative segment of the pentose phosphate pathway and the flux of glucose through the pathway were both increased during the first 7 days after induction of diabetes. Thereafter, enzyme activity returned toward control levels, but the increased functional activity of the pathway, as measured using specifically labeled glucose, persisted. In contrast, transketolase was significantly depressed at the time of most rapid kidney growth. A positive correlation was found between the rate of kidney growth and the change in activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and a negative correlation with changes in transketolase activity. The possible roles of the oxidative and nonoxidative segments of the pentose phosphate pathway in the kidney in early diabetes-induced renal hypertrophy are discussed.

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