1(S),3(R)-dihydroxy-20(R)-(5'-ethyl-5'-hydroxy-hepta-1'(E),3'(E)-dien -1'-yl)-9,10-secopregna-5(Z),7(E),10(19)-triene (EB 1089) is a novel analog of the vitamin D hormone, calcitriol that has been modified in the side-chain resulting in an increased metabolic stability relative to other side-chain modified analogs (e.g. calcipotriol and 22-oxacalcitriol). To further investigate the metabolism of EB 1089, we set out to study this metabolism both in the rat in vivo as well as in the postmitochondrial liver fractions from rat, man, and minipig in vitro. The same pattern of metabolism was observed in all biological systems employed, both in vivo and in vitro, namely 26- and 26a-hydroxylation of EB 1089. The same metabolites were produced using cultured cell systems (Shankar et al., see this issue). All the possible isomers of 26- and 26a-hydroxy EB 1089 were synthesised and these were compared to biologically generated material using HPLC, NMR, and GC-MS techniques. The predominant natural isomer observed in vitro and in vivo in rats as well as in vitro in humans was identified to be (25S),26R-hydroxy EB 1089. The biological activities of the EB 1089 metabolites on cell growth regulation were 10- to 100-fold lower than that of EB 1089. The effects of the metabolites on calcium metabolism in vivo were comparable to the effect of EB 1089; however, these effects were reduced for the major metabolite in rat and man and for the isomers of 26a-hydroxy EB 1089. We conclude that EB 1089 is metabolised by a different route of side-chain metabolism than calcitriol and that this may explain its relative metabolic stability in pharmacokinetic experiments in vivo compared to that of other vitamin D analogs.