Human foreskin keratinocytes in vitro metabolize 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to a number of metabolites, including 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3). This metabolite remains mostly within the cell and does not accumulate in the medium under the conditions of these experiments. With time, 1,25(OH)2D3 is catabolized, and more polar metabolites appear in both the cells and the medium. The production of 1,25(OH)2D3 has an apparent Michaelis constant (Km) for 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 of 5.4 X 10(-8) M. The levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 within the cell are increased both by increased production and decreased catabolism when parathyroid hormone(1-34) and isobutylmethylxanthine are added. Exogenously added 1,25(OH)2D3 at concentrations as low as 10(-12) M reduces endogenous 1,25(OH)2D3 production, increases 1,25(OH)2D3 catabolism, and increases 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 production by an actinomycin D-sensitive process. These data indicate that the regulation of 1,25(OH)2D3 production by keratinocytes is similar to, but not identical to the regulation of 1,25(OH)2D3 by the kidney.