Fasting serum 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25-(OH)2D] levels were measured in 3 groups of hypophosphatemic vitamin D-resistant rickets (VDRR) patients; those untreated; those treated with vitamin D and phosphate; and those treated with 1,25-(OH)2D3 and phosphate. In the untreated patients, the mean 1,25-(OH)2D level was higher than in our age-matched control group. Except for one at 66 pg/ml, individual values were however within normal limits. Long term vitamin D2 therapy was accompanied by a slight but significant decrease in 1,25-(OH)2D concentrations; nonetheless the levels remained within the normal range. In the third group of patients, the concentration of 1,25-(OH)2D rose to supranormal levels when sampling was done 1-3 hours after administration of the hormone, decreasing rapidly to levels below that of normal subjects when the specimens were collected 12-24 hours later. Our data show that an alteration of the vitamin D activation pathway is unlikely to be part of the pathogenic mechanism underlying the VDRR condition.