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Type 2 diabetes increases risk of stroke, perhaps because of impaired cerebrovascular basal nitric oxide (NO) activity. We investigated whether this activity is improved by a 2-week course of the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol.We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. We measured the response to infusion of NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) in males with type 2 diabetes before and after allopurinol or placebo. The primary end point was the change in internal carotid artery flow following L-NMMA infusion, expressed as the area under the flow-per-time curve.We enrolled 14 participants. Allopurinol improved responses to L-NMMA when compared with responses associated with placebo (P = 0.032; median reduction in internal carotid artery flow following L-NMMA of 3,144 ml [95% CI 375–7,143]).Xanthine oxidase inhibition with allopurinol appears to improve cerebral NO bioavailability, as evidenced by a greater response to infusion of L-NMMA.