Postprandial hyperglycaemia is thought to increase inflammation in leucocytes. In the present study, we examined whether sucrose loading in rats with moderate postprandial hyperglycaemia induces the expression of cytokines in peripheral leucocytes and whether these inductions are suppressed by inhibiting postprandial hyperglycaemia with the α-glucosidase inhibitor miglitol. One group of streptozotocin-treated rats and age-matched saline-treated rats were orally administered sucrose only, and another group of streptozotocin-treated rats was administered sucrose with miglitol, at a single daily dose for 4 d, under 4 h fasting conditions. Blood glucose levels at 0, 0·25, 0·5, 1, 2 and 3 h and cytokine mRNA in peripheral leucocytes at 0 and 3 h after sucrose loading on days 1 and 4 from the start of sucrose loading were determined. Streptozotocin-treated rats showed moderate postprandial hyperglycaemia (>2000 mg/l) at 0·25–1 h after sucrose loading on days 1 and 4. Postprandial hyperglycaemia was not observed in the miglitol-treated rats loaded with sucrose. Gene expression levels of IL-1β and TNF-α were higher in the streptozotocin-treated rats at fasting on day 1 than in saline-treated rats. Fasting IL-1β and TNF-α gene expression on day 1 were not only increased at 3 h on the same day of sucrose loading, but was also increased at the fasting period on day 4. These inductions on day 4 by intermittent sucrose administration were inhibited by miglitol. The present results suggest that miglitol decreases postprandial hyperglycaemia and intermittent sucrose-induced expression of the IL-1β and TNF-α genes in rat peripheral leucocytes.