Dietary salt is a contributing factor to the development of hypertension in individuals who are salt-sensitive. The vitamin D endocrine system has been reported to modulate vascular structure and function. Since elderly hypertensive females with low plasma renin activity, typical of salt-sensitivity, had significantly lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations compared with normotensive elderly and young females, we have used Dahl salt-sensitive and salt-resistant rats fed high (80 g/kg diet) and low (3 g/kg diet) salt diets as models to examine the relationship between salt-sensitivity and 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the precursor of the hormonal form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of salt-resistant rats were unaffected by a high salt diet, but plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of salt-sensitive rats were significantly reduced within three weeks to lower than 25%. There was a negative association between plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of salt-sensitive rats and the number of days that the rats were fed a high salt diet (r = -0.98, P < 0.02) and a positive association between blood pressure and the number of days that the rats were fed a high salt diet (r = 0.97, P < 0.05). An inverse relationship was found between plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and blood pressure (r = -0.99, P < 0.01). Spontaneously hypertensive rats did not have low plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, suggesting that reduction of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration might be specific to salt-induced hypertension.