To evaluate whether hypertension is a cause or just an association with diabetic renal disease, diabetes was induced in both normotensive Wistar-Kyoto and spontaneously hypertensive rats (WKY and SHR). Animals were assessed monthly for 8 months before sacrifice. When compared to normotensive diabetic rats (WKY-STZ), hypertensive diabetic rats (SHR-STZ) had an earlier and more rapid rise in urinary albumin excretion. In addition, SHR-STZ had increased glomerular basement membrane thickness when compared to WKY-STZ or SHR. In a separate experiment, Enalapril therapy (35 mg/L) was administered in drinking water to WKY-STZ and SHR-STZ. Enalapril significantly reduced blood pressure in both animal groups, and this was associated with a decrease in urinary albumin excretion. The SHR-STZ model has accelerated nephropathy as determined by both functional and structural parameters. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition is associated with a reduction in albuminuria in both hypertensive and normotensive models of diabetic nephropathy.