Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of death from infectious disease. Hyperglycaemia has been identified as the main factor contributing to the development of diseases associated with diabetes mellitus. However, experimental evidence indicates individual susceptibility to develop complications of diabetes. In this context, the aim of this work was to study the immune response in a streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes in two mouse strains: BALB/cByJ and C57Bl/6J. The participation of hyperglycaemia and oxidative stress was also analysed. Diabetic BALB/cByJ mice showed a decrease in both the in-vivo and in-vitro immune responses, whereas diabetic C57Bl/6J mice had higher blood glucose but exhibited no impairment of the immune response. The influence of hyperglycaemia over the immune response was evaluated by preincubation of lymphocytes from normal mice in a high glucose-containing medium. T and B cells from BALB/cByJ mice showed a decrease in cell viability and mitogen-stimulated proliferation and an increase in apoptosis induction. An increase in oxidative stress was implicated in this deleterious effect. These parameters were not affected in the T and B lymphocytes from C57Bl/6J mice. In conclusion, BALB/cByJ mice were sensitive to the deleterious effect of hyperglycaemia, while C57BL/6J were resistant. Although an extrapolation of these results to clinical conditions must be handled with caution, these results highlight the need to contemplate the genetic background to establish models to study the deleterious effect of diabetes in order to understand phenotypical variations that are of clinical importance in the treatment of patients.