Diabetes mellitus represents a major metabolic disorder affecting millions of people all over the world. Currently available therapeutic treatments are not good enough to control the long-term complications of diabetes. Active targeting via inclusion of a specific ligand on the nanoparticles provides effective therapeutic approach in different diseases. However, such specific drug delivery systems have not been explored much in diabetes due to lack of suitable biological targets in this disorder. Our objective is to synthesize a ligand-tagged drug-loaded nanoparticle for delivery of the drug at specific sites to enhance its therapeutic efficiency in diabetic condition. The nanoparticles have been prepared by using biocompatible ethylene glycol-bis (succinic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester) dimers. Although advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are the root causes of diabetic complications, argpyrimidine, an AGE, possesses antioxidant and reducing activities. AGE interacts selectively with its cell surface receptors (RAGE), which are significantly increased in diabetic condition. We have selected RAGE as the target of argpyrimidine, which is tagged on the nanoparticles as a ligand. Rutin, having anti-hyperglycemic and anti-glycating activities, has been used for nanoencapsulation. Rutin-loaded argpyrimidine-tagged nanoparticles have been synthesized and characterized. We have demonstrated the drug releasing capacity and target specificity of the synthesised drug delivery system under ex vivo and in vivo conditions. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.