The renal reabsorption of glucose is mediated by two major classes of transporters. Initially, luminal glucose is concentrated in tubules by Na+- glucose cotransporters (Na+-GLUT). Afterwards, glucose reaches the blood space through facilitative glucose transporters, low-Michaelis constant (K(m)) GLUT1 and high-K(m) GLUT2. Hence, the transtubular flux of glucose could be impaired in hyperglycemia because the outwardly directed glucose gradient, from tubule to blood, is potentially lowered. However, in diabetic rats, transtubular glucose flux is not reduced but increased. In this work the molecular mechanism underlying this adaptation was examined. We tested the hypothesis that upregulation of renal tubular high-K(m) GLUT2 gene may compensate for the decrease in the tubule to blood glucose gradient. In rat tubules, GLUT1 protein and mRNA steady-state levels were reduced, and GLUT2 protein and mRNA levels were increased in rats after 2, 3, and 4 wk of uncontrolled streptozotocin-induced diabetes. These molecular adaptations were associated with augmented facilitative glucose flux. In summary, changes in GLUT1 and GLUT2 gene expression are important to the preservation of renal glucose reabsorption in hyperglycemia.