Decrease in cardiac contractility is a hallmark of chronic diabetes. Previously we showed that this defect results, at least in part, from a dysfunction of the type 2 ryanodine receptor calcium-release channel (RyR2). The mechanism(s) underlying RyR2 dysfunction is not fully understood. The present study was designed to determine whether non-cross-linking advanced glycation end products (AGEs) on RyR2 increase with chronic diabetes and if formation of these post-translational complexes could be attenuated with insulin treatment. Overnight digestion of RyR2 from 8-week control animals (8C) with trypsin afforded 298 peptides with monoisotopic mass (M+H(+)) >or=500. Digestion of RyR2 from 8-week streptozotocin-induced diabetic animals (8D) afforded 21% fewer peptides, whereas RyR2 from 6-week diabetic/2-week insulin-treated animals generated 304 peptides. Using an in-house PERLscript algorithm, search of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass data files identified several M+H(+) peaks corresponding to theoretical RyR2 peptides with single N(epsilon)-(carboxymethyl)-lysine, imidazolone A, imidazone B, pyrraline, or 1-alkyl-2-formyl-3,4-glycosyl pyrrole modification that were present in 8D but not 8C. Insulin treatment minimized production of some of these nonenzymatic glycation products. These data show for the first time that AGEs are formed on intracellular RyR2 during diabetes. Because AGE complexes are known to compromise protein activity, these data suggest a potential mechanism for diabetes-induced RyR2 dysfunction.