This study was designed to evaluate the effects of Cd exposure on morphological aspects of beta-cell and weights of fetus and placenta in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic pregnant rats. Ninety-nine virgin female Wistar rats (200-220 g) were mated with 33 males for at least 12 h. From the onset of pregnancy, the rats were divided into four experimental groups (control, Cd treated, STZ treated, and Cd+STZ treated). The Cd-treated group was injected subcutaneously daily with CdCl2 dissolved in isotonic NaCl, starting at the onset of pregnancy throughout the experiment. Diabetes was induced on the 13th d of pregnancy by a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ in STZ-treated group. In addition to the daily injection of Cd, a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ was also given on the 13th d of pregnancy in the Cd+STZ-treated group. The rats received the last injection 24 h before being sacrificed and 10 randomly selected rats in each group were sacrificed on the 15th and 20th d of pregnancy. Blood samples were taken for the determination of the serum glucose and insulin levels. Maternal pancreases, fetuses, and placentas of sacrificed rats in all groups were harvested (fetal pancreas was also harvested only on the 20th d of pregnancy) for morphological and immunohistochemical examinations. Cd exposure alone caused a degeneration, necrosis, and weak degranulation, but Cd exposure with STZ caused a severe degeneration, necrosis, and degranulation in the beta-cells of the pancreatic islets. No morphological or immunohistochemical differences were found in beta-cells of fetal pancreatic islets of control or other treatment groups. Cd exposure alone also decreased the fetal and placental weights. The administration of STZ alone, on the other hand, increased the placental weight. Cd, STZ, and Cd+STZ administration increased the glucose and decreased the insulin level. The increase in glucose and decrease in insulin levels were higher when Cd and STZ were given together. All of these changes were more severe on the 20th d than those on the 15th d of the pregnancy. It is concluded that Cd exposure during pregnancy may reduce the birth and placental weights and produce necrosis, degeneration, and degranulation in beta-cells of pancreatic islets, causing an increase in the serum glucose level. These changes might be severe in diabetic pregnant mothers.