In the present study changes in oxidative stress and vascular reactivity in aortic rings of chronic streptozotocin-diabetic (STZ-CON) and nondiabetic (ND-CON) rats is studied at 4 weekly intervals up to 24 weeks. The effect of chronic curcumin (200 mg/kg) treatment was also studied. Blood glucose and blood pressure levels were significantly higher in the STZ-CON group and curcumin administration had no significant effect on it. Superoxide dismutase and catalase activity were either unchanged or significantly increased during the early stage of diabetes whereas during the medium and late stage were significantly reduced. Reduced glutathione and lipid peroxidation levels significantly decreased as time after STZ administration increased. Phenylephrine (PE)-induced contraction was significantly (P < 0.05) increased during the early stage of diabetes, whereas it was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced at the medium and late stage of diabetes. Acetylcholine (Ach)-induced relaxation significantly decreased with respect to time after STZ administration. Sodium nitroprusside (SNP)-induced relaxation was unaltered up to initial stage but after medium stage there was a rightward shift and the pD2 value significantly decreased. Though curcumin treatment had no significant effect on superoxide dismutase, catalase, and reduced glutathione levels, it significantly reduced lipid peroxidation compared with diabetic control. Curcumin treatment attenuated the phenylephrine-induced increase in contraction during the early stage. However, curcumin treatment had no significant effect at the medium and late stage. Though curcumin administration improved Ach-induced relaxation it did not restore it to normal. Inability of curcumin to prevent oxidative stress during the late stage may be due to the fact that chronic diabetes (hyperglycemia) leads to excessive production of free radicals. Hence the present study shows that variations reported in antioxidant enzymes and vascular reactivity are due to the duration of diabetes or time after diabetes induction in STZ model and this can not be completely reversed by chronic treatment with curcumin.