The aim of the study was to investigate whether various beta-cell stimulatory drugs, given neonatally, influence the incidence of diabetes in BB rats. Newborn BB rats were treated twice daily for 6 days and diabetes development was observed during the following 200-day study period. Compared to a diabetes incidence of 63.8% in 163 control BB rats which received saline or were untreated, the percentage of experimental BB rats that developed diabetes was as follows in the different subgroups: arginine-glucose: 47% (n = 73, p < 0.02); glucagon: 37% (n = 93, p < 0.0001); tolbutamide-glucose: 36% (n = 58, p < 0.0005); and theophylline-glucose: 39% (n = 41, p < 0.005). A long-term arginine-glucose treatment was not superior to the shorter neonatal treatment. Histological examination revealed a higher degree of insulitis in diabetic than in non-diabetic animals but no difference according to the kind of treatment was observed. Finally, we found that the diabetes incidence in BB rats was higher in the first litter compared to subsequent litters (p = 0.04). Thus, neonatal treatment with various beta-cell stimulatory agents reduces diabetes incidence in BB rats. The theory behind the study, that the treatment accelerates beta-cell maturation leading to increased immunological tolerance towards beta cells, is discussed.