The aim of this study was to investigate whether time-dependent variations in the relaxant effect of acetylcholine, an endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant via muscarinic receptors, and isoprenaline, a nonselective beta-adrenoceptor agonist in rat aorta, are influenced by streptozotocin (STZ)-induced experimental diabetes. Adult male rats were divided randomly into two groups: control and STZ-induced (STZ, 55 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) diabetes. The animals were synchronized to a 12:12 h light-dark cycle (lights on 08:00 h) and sacrificed at six different times of day (1, 5, 9, 13, 17, and 21 hours after lights on; HALO) eight weeks after STZ injection. The in vitro responsiveness of thoracic aorta rings obtained from control and diabetic rats to acetylcholine (10(-9)-10(-5) M) and isoprcnalinc (10(-10)-10(-3) M) was determined in six different times. EC50 (the concentration inducing half of the maximum response) values and maximum responses were calculated from cumulative concentration-response curves of the agonists and were analyzed with respect to time and STZ treatment. Treatment, time, and interactions between treatment and time were tested by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). To analyze differences due to biological time, one-way ANOVA was used. STZ treatment did not significantly change EC50 values or maximum responses for both agonists. There were statistically significant time-dependent variations in the EC50 values for isoprenaline and maximum responses for both acetylcholine and isoprenaline in control groups by one-way ANOVA, but significant time-dependent variations disappeared in the aortas isolated from STZ-induced diabetic rats. The vasodilator responses to acetylcholine and isoprenaline failed to show any significant interaction (treatment x time of study) between STZ treatment and time of sacrifice in both EC50 values and maximum responses by two-way ANOVA. These results indicate there is a basic temporal pattern in the responses to acetylcholine and isoprenaline in rat aorta which continues in diabetes. It is shown for the first time that experimental diabetes does not change the 24 h pattern of responses to acetylcholine and isoprenaline, and that time-dependent variations in the responses to these agonists disappear in diabetic animals. Although further studies are required to define the underlying mechanism(s) of these findings, results suggest that experimental diabetes can modify the time-dependent vasorelaxant responses of rat aorta. This may help to understand the circadian rhythms in cardiovascular physiology and pathology or in drug effects in diabetes. (Author correspondence: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).