The preventive effect of beta-alanyl-L-histidinato zinc (AHZ) on osteopenia was investigated in rats treated with hydrocortisone. Rats received hydrocortisone (75 mg/kg body weight per day) s.c. for 30 days. The steroid treatment caused a significant increase in serum alkaline phosphatase activity and parathyroid hormone (PTH-c) level, while serum calcium, inorganic phosphorus, and zinc concentrations were not significantly altered. The femoral-diaphyseal alkaline phosphatase activity, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and calcium contents were significantly decreased by the treatment of steroid, although the bone zinc content was not appreciably altered. When AHZ (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg per day) was administered p.o. for 30 days to rats giving the steroid, the dose of AHZ (30 and 100 mg/kg) completely prevented the increases in serum alkaline phosphatase activity and PTH-c level and the decreases in femoral-diaphyseal alkaline phosphatase activity, DNA, and calcium contents caused by the steroid treatment. The dose of AHZ (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg) significantly increased zinc content in the femoral diaphysis. Present results indicate that the dose of AHZ can prevent the disorder of bone metabolism caused by hydrocortisone treatment. AHZ may have a therapeutic role in the steroid-induced osteopenia.