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Protein kinases C are a family of serine threonine protein kinases that play key roles in extracellular signal transductton. Inappropriate activation of protein kinase C has been implicated in the pathophysiology of many diseases, including diabetes mellitus. Indeed, protein kinase C activation may contribute not only to the pathogenesis of diabetic complications such as nephropathy and retinopathy, but also to insulin resistance. Growing awareness that protein kinase C isoforms subserve specific subcellularfunctions has led to the development of isoform-specific inhibitors, which may be useful investigational tools and therapeutic agents for attenuating the effects of inappropriate protein kinase C activity. Here we review the role played by protein kinases C in diabetic nephropathy and the recent progress that has been made to modulate its activity using specific inhibitors.