Diabetes mellitus (DM) is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease and diabetic nephropathy is widely studied. In contrast, the pathobiology of diabetic urinary bladder disease is less understood despite dysfunctional voiding being common in DM. We hypothesised that diabetic cystopathy has a characteristic molecular signature. We therefore studied bladders of hyperglycaemic and polyuric rats with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced DM. Sixteen weeks after induction of DM, as assessed by RNA arrays, wide-ranging changes of gene expression occurred in DM bladders over and above those induced in bladders of non-hyperglycaemic rats with sucrose-induced polyuria. The altered transcripts included those coding for extracellular matrix regulators and neural molecules. Changes in key genes deregulated in DM rat bladders were also detected in db/db mouse bladders. In DM rat bladders there was reduced birefringent collagen between detrusor muscle bundles, and atomic force microscopy showed a significant reduction in tissue stiffness; neither change was found in bladders of sucrose-treated rats. Thus, altered extracellular matrix with reduced tissue rigidity may contribute to voiding dysfunction in people with long-term DM. These results serve as an informative stepping stone towards understanding the complex pathobiology of diabetic cystopathy.