Previous studies from our laboratory have characterized the peripheral metabolism of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the dog using radioimmunoassay techniques following injection or infusion of biologically active, bovine PTH preparations. Other investigators have used biologically-inactive labelled PTH and interpreted their results as representative of the normal physiological processes. Since oxidized inactive PTH does not bind to PTH receptors and since we have found substantial differences between the tissue uptake of active and inactive PTH preparations, it is possible that results obtained with inactive PTH preparations may not totally represent the normal metabolism of PTH. Therefore, we performed studies in rats to compare the disappearance of immunoreactive PTH (i-PTH) from plasma following injection of active or inactive syn b-PTH 1-34. The maneuvers of bilateral ureteral ligation and bilateral nephrectomy were utilized to characterize the sites of tissue uptake of i-PTH. The results obtained indicate that inactive syn b-PTH 1-34 has a significantly slower disappearance from plasma than biologically active syn b-PTH 1-34. Reduction of glomerular filtration by acute bilateral ureteral ligation decreased the disappearance of oxidized PTH more than active PTH. Thus, the results indicate a major dependence on glomerular filtration for the removal of inactive syn b-PTH 1-34. The demonstration that the peripheral metabolism of active and inactive syn b-PTH 1-34 is not identical suggests that studies of the metabolism of inactive PTH preparations do not accurately reflect that of biologically active PTH.