Plasma, pituitary, and hypothalamic levels of the endogenous opioid peptide β-endorphin were measured by radioimmunoassay and column chromatography in female rats 8 wk after the induction of diabetes with streptozocin (STZ) and in control female rats. In addition, pain perception was determined by measuring the latency to paw lick or jump after being placed on a hot plate. Plasma levels of immunoreactive β-endorphin (IR-BE) were significantly reduced in STZ-induced diabetic female rats, as were the content and concentration of IR-BE in the neurointermediate lobe of the pituitary (NIL) and the content of IR-BE in the hypothalamus. The concentration but not the content of IR-BE in the anterior pituitary (AP) of the STZ-induced diabetic rats was increased significantly. Streptozocininduced diabetes also resulted in a significant reduction in the total protein content of the AP, NIL, and hypothalamus. Column chromatography indicated that the decrease in IR-BE in the plasma, NIL, and hypothalamus represented a decrease in β-endorphin, whereas the increase in IR-BE in the AP represented an increase in both β-endorphin and β-lipotropin. Diabetic animals consistently showed decreased latencies to paw lick or jump when subjected to hot-plate testing after 7 wk. These findings suggest that in female rats, central and peripheral endogenous opiate levels and tolerance to nociceptive thermal stimulation were diminished by 8 wk of chemically induced diabetes.