1. Chromatography measurements indicated that adult rats converted 25-hydroxycholecalciferol into 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol at a lower rate than that reported earlier for young animals. In serum, less-polar metabolites were found which probably represented vitamin D esters and vitamin D3.
2. A low dietary intake of calcium resulted in an evident increase in the fraction corresponding to 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol in the kidneys and also in the intestinal mucosa and serum.
3. Inclusion of 0·67 mmol of cadmium/l of drinking water at a low dietary intake of calcium resulted in an increased accumulation of both cadmium and zinc in the kidneys and liver compared with values at a normal dietary calcium intake.
4. At a normal dietary calcium intake, cadmium exposure caused inhibited production of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol by the kidneys and an increased accumulation of 24,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, vitamin D3 and vitamin D esters in the serum.
5. The inhibitory effect of cadmium on the renal conversion of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol into 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol was almost completely counteracted by a simultaneous low dietary calcium intake. Cadmium-exposed, calcium-deficient animals also showed a maintained accumulation of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol in the intestinal mucosa.