2-Oxoglutaric acid (2-Ox), a precursor to hydroxyproline - the most abundant amino acid in bone collagen, exerts protective effects on bone development during different stages of organism development; however, little is known about the action of 2-Ox on cartilage. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the influence of dietary 2-Ox supplementation on the growth plate, articular cartilage and bone of growing rats. A total of twelve male Sprague-Dawley rats were used in the study. Half of the rats received 2-oxoglutarate at a dose of 0·75 g/kg body weight per d in their drinking-water. Body and organ weights were measured. Histomorphometric analyses of the cartilage and bone tissue of the femora and tibiae were conducted, as well as bone densitometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Rats receiving 2-Ox had an increased body mass (P<0·001) and absolute liver weight (P=0·031). Femoral length (P=0·045) and bone mineral density (P=0·014), overall thickness of growth plate (femur P=0·036 and tibia P=0·026) and the thickness of femoral articular cartilage (P<0·001) were also increased. 2-Ox administration had no effect on the mechanical properties or on any of the measured pQCT parameters for both bones analysed. There were also no significant differences in histomorphometric parameters of tibial articular cartilage and autofluorescence of femoral and tibial growth plate cartilage. Dietary supplementation with 2-Ox to growing rats exerts its effects mainly on cartilage tissue, having only a slight influence on bone. The effect of 2-Ox administration was selective, depending on the particular bone and type of cartilage analysed.