The purpose of this study was to determine whether cyclooxygenase expression in arteries is affected by diabetes. Streptozotocin-injected rats and Goto-Kakizaki rats were used as animal models for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, respectively. Cyclooxygenase-2 expression was induced by lipopolysaccharide. Lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression was significantly lower in aortas isolated from streptozotocin-injected rats and Goto-Kakizaki rats than in aortas of control rats, while expression level of cyclooxygenase-1 was not affected by lipopolysaccharide and was not different in aortas of the three groups of rats. The level of 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1alpha) that accumulated in the presence of lipopolysaccharide as well as the basal accumulation level in the absence of lipopolysaccharide was significantly lower in aortas of streptozotocin-injected rats and Goto-Kakizaki rats than in aortas of control rats. The net increase in 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1alpha) level in response to stimulation with lipopolysaccharide, which was calculated by subtracting the basal accumulation level from the total accumulation level, was also significantly lower in aortas of streptozotocin-injected rats and Goto-Kakizaki rats than in aortas of control rats. There were no significant differences in the accumulated 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1alpha) levels in the absence or presence of lipopolysaccharide and the levels of basal and lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in control or Goto-Kakizaki rat aortas under the conditions of different glucose concentrations in the medium. These results suggest that lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression and subsequent prostacyclin production are decreased in aortas isolated from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes rats.