The adverse effects of lead nitrate (LN) and the preventive role of sodium selenite were investigated in diabetic and non-diabetic rat blood by measuring trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) also by evaluating DNA damage with comet assay. LN increased the levels of MDA, tail DNA%, mean tail length and tail moment, decreased the enzymes activities, FRAP and TEAC values. In sodium selenite +LN group, we observed the protective effect of sodium selenite on examining parameters. Diabetes caused alterations on these parameters, too. We found that sodium selenite did not protect against diabetes caused damages. As a result, LN caused toxic effects on blood cells and sodium selenite alleviated this toxicity but it did not show preventive effect against diabetes. Also, LN caused more harmfull effects in diabetic groups than non-diabetic groups. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.