Mammary explants from pregnant mice cultured in the presence of lactogenic hormones express their differentiated function by producing milk components in vitro. In the present paper radioactive calcium uptake was studied in the mammary gland during terminal differentiation, when lactogenesis was initiated. Under these conditions a relevant accumulation of calcium in the tissue was clearly demonstrable. We have characterized the calcium uptake by the tissue as a saturable and energy dependent process. When 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol [1,25-(OH)2D3], the major calcium regulator hormone, was added to the incubation medium the secosteroid strongly stimulated this process by increasing the maximal velocity without significantly altering the Michaelis Menten constant (Km). Detectable increases in calcium uptake could be measured after the explants were cultured with 1,25-(OH)2D3 for 30 min, with the response continuing to increase sharply over time and reaching a plateau at 3 h. The increase was not affected by the presence of actinomycin D or cycloheximide suggesting that the 1,25-(OH)2D3 stimulation of calcium uptake may be independent of de novo protein synthesis. These results provide evidence for early and direct action of the hormonal form of vitamin D in affecting calcium transport across membranes of functionally differentiated epithelial cells of the mammary gland.