Cultured human keratinocytes have the property to hydroxylate exogenous 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25OHD3) at the C-1alpha position thus producing 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1alpha,25(OH)2D3). In this study we investigated whether keratinocytes can also hydroxylate vitamin D3 and one of its metabolites at the C-25 position. We could demonstrate that HaCaT keratinocytes can metabolize 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 (1alpha-OHD3) and vitamin D3 to 1alpha,25(OH)2D3. Identification of the generated product as 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 was based on its elution pattern in two different high performance liquid chromatography systems, on its specific binding in a calf thymus receptor assay and on its gas chromatography-mass spectrometry characteristics. The hydroxylation of vitamin D3 to 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 was dose- and time-dependent. Bovine serum albumin added up to 1.5% (w/v) to the culture medium greatly increased the hydroxylation rates. These results show that HaCaT cells have the capacity to hydroxylate vitamin D3 at the C-1/25 positions. The generation of endogenous 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 from vitamin D3 within the skin may indicate a novel pathway which is of importance for the regulation of epidermal cell growth and differentiation.