Two unrelated patients, aged 22 months and 31 months, with alopecia and rickets resistant to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH)2D)) (vitamin D-dependency type II) presented with similar biochemical and radiologic features. They were treated with large doses of vitamin D3 derivatives [25- hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-(OH)D3), 1,25-(OH)2D3, and la-hydroxyvitamin D3] for 28 months and 6 yr, respectively. In both patients, serum 1,25-(OH)2D levels remained high (approximately 10- to 100-fold normal) during the different therapeutic regimens. Circulating 1,25-(OH)2D and 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels at various stages of the disease suggested in these children disturbances in the regulation of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) lα- and 24-hydroxylase systems. In one child, all therapeutic trials were unsuccessful. Studies of her cultured skin fibroblasts showed low capacity (10% normal) for saturable (presumably receptor mediated) nuclear uptake of tritiated 1,25- (OH)2D3; the uptake process of nucleus associated 1,25-(OH)2D3 was normal in apparent affinity for 1,25-(OH)2D3 and in sedimentation velocity of nucleus-associated hormone. In the second child, correction of biochemical abnormalities, healing of rickets, and catch-up growth were obtained during similar therapeutic trials up to the age of 6 yr when a relapse occurred. This relapse has persisted for 2 yr in spite of similar or higher circulating concentrations of 25-(OH)D and 1,25-(OH)2D than those obtained previously when she was responsive to therapy. In her cultured skin fibroblasts, saturable high affinity nuclear uptake of 1,25(OH)2D was unmeasurable. In conclusion: 1) distinct patterns of clinical response can occur in patients with the syndrome of vitamin D-dependency type II, and can be associated with differing abnormalities in interaction of 1,25-(OH)2D3 with cultured skin fibroblasts; 2) aggravation of the resistance to 1,25-(OH)2D3 may occur during long term therapy in some patients.