To establish the PTH dosage that maintains normal mineral homeostasis in the PTX rat, a series of doses of rat 1-34 PTH were infused via a subcutaneously implanted miniosmotic pump. The doses were 0, 0.011, 0.022, 0.044, and 0.11 microg/100 g/hour. After 48 hours, serum calcium ranged from 5.56 +/- 0.02 to 16.29 +/- 0.25 mg/dl, ANOVA P < 0.001, and serum phosphorus from 12.49 +/- 0.03 to 5.33 +/- 0.34 mg/dl, ANOVA P < 0.001. By post hoc test, the serum calcium level was different (P < 0.05) at every PTH dose; the serum phosphorus level was different (P < 0.05) at every PTH dose except between the two highest doses. The PTH dosage that produced a normal serum calcium (10.09 +/- 0.10 mg/dl) and phosphorus (6.90 +/- 0.18 mg/dl) was 0.022 microg/100 g/hour. The relationship between increasing doses of PTH and both serum calcium and phosphorus was curvilinear and the calcium-phosphorus product was remarkably constant from a serum calcium of 7-13 mg/dl. The increase in serum calcium and the decrease in serum phosphorus were more rapid at lower than at higher PTH doses so that for both, an asymptote was reached. At the highest serum calcium values, the calcium-phosphorus product increased and in individual rats, an increase in serum phosphorus was associated with a decrease in serum calcium. In summary, this study shows that (1) for rat 1-34 PTH, the normal replacement dose in the PTX rat with normal renal function on a normal diet is 0.022 microg/100 g/hour; (2) the relationship between PTH and both serum calcium and phosphorus is curvilinear, and an asymptote is reached for both; and (3) the calcium-phosphorus product is remarkably constant as the serum calcium increases from 7 to 13 mg/dl and only increased during marked hypercalcemia when serum phosphorus did not decrease further or even tended to increase.