The effect of a new zinc compound, beta-alanyl-L-histidinato zinc (AHZ), on osteopenia was investigated in rats with adjuvant arthritis. Arthritis was induced in female rats by administering 1% Mycobacterium butyricum (MB) into the subplantar surface of the right hind paw. AHZ (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg body weight) was orally administered to MB-treated rats 28 times at 24-h intervals, and the rats were bled 24 h after the last administration. Treatment with MB caused a remarkable increase in paw volume and a corresponding decrease in the ratio of albumin per globulin in serum, indicating that the treatment induces inflammation. These alterations were not significantly changed by the administration of AHZ (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg). Serum calcium and zinc concentrations are significantly decreased in rats with adjuvant arthritis. These decreases were completely restored by the administration of AHZ (30 and 100 mg/kg). Furthermore, the inflammation-induced decreases in alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium content in the femoral diaphysis were clearly blocked by the administration of AHZ (30 and 100 mg/kg). Also, the larger doses of AHZ (30 and 100 mg/kg) produced a significant increase in femoral-diaphyseal deoxyribonucleic acid and in the zinc content in rats with adjuvant arthritis. These results suggest that AHZ has a stimulating effect on bone formation in the femoral diaphysis of rats with adjuvant arthritis, although the compound did not have an anti-arthritic effect.