The aim of this study was to assess the association between metabolic control, microalbuminuria, and diabetic nephropathy with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) in normotensive individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). ABPM was undertaken in 68 normotensive type 1 diabetic patients with a mean age of 14.4 +/- 4.2 years. Microalbuminuria was diagnosed on the basis of a urinary albumin excretion rate grater than 20 mu g/min in two of the three 24-h urine collections. Hypertension (HT) frequency was greater in the microalbuminuric patients than normoalbuminuric patients (54 vs 17.54%, p=0.05) with ABPM. Microalbuminuric patients had a higher diastolic pressure burden than normoalbuminuric patients. There were no differences in systolic and diastolic dips between the two groups. Diastolic pressure loads in all periods showed a significant correlation with duration of diabetes, mean HbA1c from the onset of diabetes, and level of microalbuminuria. Nocturnal dipping was reduced in 41.2% of the patients. In the normoalbuminuric group 41.1% and in the microalbuminuric group 63.6% were nondippers. Our data demonstrate higher 24-h and daytime diastolic blood pressure load and loss of nocturnal dip in type 1 diabetic adolescents and children. High diastolic blood pressure burden in diabetic patients could represent a risk for nephropathy.