Several studies have shown impairment of neutrophil function, a disorder that contributes to the high incidence of infections in diabetes. Since glucose and glutamine play a key role in neutrophil function, we investigated their metabolism in neutrophils obtained from the peritoneal cavity of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The activities of hexokinase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), phosphofructokinase (PFK), citrate synthase, phosphate-dependent glutaminase, NAD+-linked and NADP+-linked isocitrate dehydrogenase were assayed. Glucose, glutamine, lactate, glutamate and aspartate, and the decarboxylation of [U-14C], [1-14C] and [6-14C]glucose; [U-14C]palmitic acid; and [U-14C]glutamine were measured in 1-h incubated neutrophils. Phagocytosis capacity and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production were also determined. All measurements were carried out in neutrophils from control, diabetic and insulin-treated (2–4IU/day) diabetic rats. Phagocytosis and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-stimulated H2O2 production were decreased in neutrophils from diabetic rats. The activities of G6PDH and glutaminase were decreased, whereas that of PFK was raised by the diabetic state. The activities of the remaining enzymes were not changed. Diabetes decreased the decarboxylation of [1-14C]glucose and [U-14C]glutamine; however, [6-14C]glucose and [U-14C]palmitic acid decarboxylation was increased. These observations indicate that changes in metabolism may play an important role in the impaired neutrophil function observed in diabetes. The treatment with insulin abolished the changes induced by the diabetic state even with no marked change in glycemia. Therefore, insulin may have a direct effect on neutrophil metabolism and function.