Although abnormalities of calcium and vitamin D metabolism are recognized in children with nephrotic syndrome, longitudinal observations are not available in these patients during periods of relapse and remission. We report observations in 58 children (mean age 10.1 years) with nephrotic syndrome and normal glomerular filtration rate. Hypocalcemia, modest hyperparathyroidism, and strikingly low calcidiol levels were identified during episodes of relapse. Most alterations were transient, and normalized on remission. The plasma concentration of calcitriol, the most active metabolite of vitamin D, was found to be normal in both relapse and remission. In the presence of hypocalcemia and hyperparathyroidism, however, normal plasma calcitriol levels in relapse may be inappropriately low and reflect a state of relative deficiency. Concurrent glucocorticoid therapy did not modify the results. A corollary of our observations is that children with relapsing or protracted nephrotic syndrome are at risk of developing metabolic bone disease, even without impairment of glomerular filtration rate.