This study evaluated the effects of aldose reductase inhibition on diabetes-induced oxidative-nitrosative stress and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activation. In animal experiments, control and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were treated with or without the aldose reductase inhibitor (ARI) fidarestat (16 mg . kg(-1) . day(-1)) for 6 weeks starting from induction of diabetes. Sorbitol pathway intermediate, but not glucose, accumulation in sciatic nerve and retina was completely prevented in diabetic rats treated with fidarestat. Sciatic motor nerve conduction velocity, hindlimb digital sensory nerve conduction velocity, and sciatic nerve concentrations of two major nonenzymatic antioxidants, glutathione and ascorbate, were reduced in diabetic versus control rats, and these changes were prevented in diabetic rats treated with fidarestat. Fidarestat prevented the diabetes-induced increase in nitrotyrosine (a marker of peroxynitrite-induced injury) and poly(ADP-ribose) immunoreactivities in sciatic nerve and retina. Fidarestat counteracted increased superoxide formation in aorta and epineurial vessels and in in vitro studies using hyperglycemia-exposed endothelial cells, and the DCF test/flow cytometry confirmed the endothelial origin of this phenomenon. Fidarestat did not cause direct inhibition of PARP activity in a cell-free system containing PARP and NAD(+) but did counteract high-glucose-induced PARP activation in Schwann cells. In conclusion, aldose reductase inhibition counteracts diabetes-induced nitrosative stress and PARP activation in sciatic nerve and retina. These findings reveal the new beneficial properties of fidarestat, thus further justifying the ongoing clinical trials of this specific, potent, and low-toxic ARI.