To investigate the role of the serine/threonine kinase SIK2, a member of the salt-inducible kinase (SIK) family, in insulin-dependent cell survival and hyperglycemia-induced cell death in Müller glia. Expression studies were performed by RT-PCR, immunostaining, Northern blotting, and immunoblotting. Insulin-dependent changes in SIK2 activity were investigated by in vitro kinase assays in MIO-M1 Müller cell line. Akt activation was studied by immunoblotting and cell death by TUNEL assay. The potential role of SIK2 in insulin signaling was explored by overexpression and sh-RNA knock-down approaches. Effects of hyperglycemia were studied in vitro and in vivo in streptozotocin-injected rats. SIK2 expression was detected throughout adult retina, except for the outer nuclear layer. Insulin stimulation of MIO-M1 cells resulted in a rapid 2-fold increase of SIK2 activity, increased insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1)-SIK2 interaction, and reduced cell death. pAkt levels following insulin treatment were modulated by SIK2 activity. Under hyperglycemia, increased SIK2 activity/expression was concomitant to decreased Akt activation and enhanced apoptosis; whereas knockdown of SIK2 under normo- and hyperglycemic conditions resulted in a rapid increase in pAkt levels and blunted cell death. SIK2 overexpression under normoglycemia had an opposite effect. SIK2 activity increased significantly within 2 weeks of induction of hyperglycemia in the rat retina. Results indicate that SIK2 functions as a negative modulator of the insulin-dependent survival pathway and contributes to hyperglycemia-induced cell death of Müller glia in vitro. Although still hypothetical at this point, our study suggests that SIK2 could serve a similar role during the development of diabetic retinopathy in vivo and that it represents a potential target to control disease progression.