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We sought to determine whether a single reduction of hyperglycemia and those derivatives from nonenzymatic protein glycosylation may be effective in reducing the development of diabetic endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, we investigated how acarbose, an inhibitor of intestinal α-glucosidase that reduce hyperglycemia by lowering glucose absorption, may prevent the impairment of acetylcholine (ACh)-induced endothelium-dependent relaxations observed in isolated vascular segments from untreated streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. When administered after diabetes induction, 10 mg/kg acarbose decreased modestly the enhancement of blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, but not those of advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs). This effect was linked to a partial improvement of ACh-induced responses both in conductance vessels, such as aortic segments, and resistance vasculature, like mesenteric microvessels. When acarbose was introduced after 6 weeks of untreated diabetes, blood glucose, HbA1c, and AGE levels were not affected and endothelial dysfunction remained unchanged in mesenteric microvessels, whereas a small improvement was observed in aortic segments. The addition of 100 U/ml superoxide dismutase enhanced the impaired relaxations to values similar to vessels from nondiabetic rats, indicating a main role for superoxide anions in diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction. We conclude that hyperglycemia itself or elevated HbA1c, but not plasma AGEs, are related to enhanced oxidative stress and to the impairment of endothelium function associated to diabetes. This process can be partially prevented by reducing glucose absorption with acarbose.