Diabetes mellitus generally results in an increased systemic fatty acid mobilization which can be associated with an increase in mitochondrial and peroxisomal beta-oxidation of fatty acids in selected tissues. The latter is usually accompanied by a concomitant increase in the tissue content of cytoplasmic fatty acid-binding protein (FABP) which functions in the intracellular translocation of fatty acids. It was previously found that in liver clofibrate-induced proliferation of peroxisomes and increase in FABP expression each are dependent on the induction by cytochrome P4504A1 -mediated (CYP4A1) formation of dicarboxylic acids. We studied whether peroxisome proliferation and an increase of FABP contents in liver, heart and kidney of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats are also accompanied by an increase of CYP4A1 activity, as this would indicate a possible regulatory role for dicarboxylic acids in peroxisome proliferation and FABP induction in diabetic organs other than liver. In livers of the diabetic rat, a concomitant increase was observed of the activities of CYP4A1 and the peroxisomal key enzyme fatty acyl-CoA oxidase (FACO) and of the FABP content. In the diabetic heart FACO activity and FABP content also increased, but there was no induction of CYP4A1 activity. Conversely, in diabetic kidney there was no increase in FACO activity nor FABP content in spite of a marked induction of CYP4A1 activity. It is concluded that streptozotocin-induced diabetes leads to increased peroxisome proliferation and increased levels of FABP in both liver and heart, which only in liver is accompanied by an induction of the cytochrome P450 system. Consequently, it is not likely that dicarboxylic acids are involved in the induction of peroxisome proliferation in the heart.