The process of nonenzymatic glycosylation (NEG) may play a significant role in the development of chronic complications of diabetes. Early products of NEG can be measured by various biochemical methods. A method has been developed to localize these early products of glycosylation in vivo in fixed tissue sections of normal and diabetic skin using monoclonal antibodies specific for glucitollysine, which is formed when the early products of NEG are chemically reduced in vitro. Carnoy's-fixed, paraffin-embedded skin samples from six diabetic and 13 nondiabetic subjects were sectioned, mounted on glass slides, and reduced for one h in 100 mM NaBH4. Immunolocalization was by the avidin--biotin immunoperoxidase method. Diabetic skin consistently stained more intensely for glucitollysine than nondiabetic skin. Staining around vessels, in particular, and of the collagenous matrix in general, was markedly enhanced in diabetic skin compared with nondiabetic skin. Antigens present in both the epidermis and the eccrine structures reacted with the antibody in both diabetic and nondiabetic skin but with greater intensity in the diabetic skin. This study has shown that it is possible to localize the early products of NEG in tissue sections using monoclonal antibodies. The findings correlate with biochemical data that show increased NEG in diabetics compared with nondiabetics. This technique should prove valuable for further investigations of the role of NEG in the pathogenesis of diabetes.