PURPOSE: To investigate the histopathological changes in the temporomandibular joint in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat following irradiation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats weighing about 250 gm were divided into three groups: control, diabetic, and diabetic-irradiated groups. Diabetes mellitus was induced in the rats by injecting streptozotocin. Rats in the control group were injected with citrate buffer only. After 5 days, the head and neck region of the rats in dia-betic-irradiated group were irradiated with single absorbed dose of 10 Gy. The rats were killed at 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after irradiation. The specimen including the temporomandibular joint were sectioned and observed using a histopathological method. RESULTS: In the diabetic group, severe bone resorption in the mandibular condyle was observed throughout the period of experiment. Necrosis of bone marrow and trabeculae was observed at 28 days after diabetic state. Atrophy and fibrosis in the retrodiscal tissue was gradually progressed during the time of the experiment. In the diabetic-irradiated group, severe bone resorption in the mandibular condyle was observed during the early experimental phases, but regeneration of bone marrow was initiated at 14 days after diabetic state and irradiation. Also, calcification of abnormal trabeculae was observed at 28 days after diabetic state and irradiation. The retrodiscal tissue was degenerated in the early experimental phases, but it had been gradually regenerated during the experimental time. CONCLUSION: This experiment suggests that bone resorption and degeneration in the mandibular condyle are caused by the induction of diabetes, and abnormal bone formation is induced after irradiation in diabetic state.