Insulin may contribute to the increase in tubular reabsorption of phosphate during dietary phosphate restriction. Moreover, insulin is required for the stimulation of calcitriol under this experimental condition. To evaluate whether calcitriol plays a role in the antiphosphaturic effect of insulin during phosphate restriction, phosphate uptake was measured in brush border membrane vesicles (BBMVs) obtained from the following six experimental groups of rats: normal (0.8%)-phosphate diet for 1 wk, low (0.03%)-phosphate diet for 1 wk, normal-phosphate diet for 1 wk and streptozocin 48 h before the experiment, low-phosphate diet for 1 wk and streptozocin 48 h before the experiment, low-phosphate diet and streptozocin and exogenous insulin, and low-phosphate diet and streptozocin and exogenous calcitriol. BBMV phosphate uptake was higher in the nondiabetic rats on a low-phosphate diet than in the controls on a normal-phosphate diet. BBMV phosphate uptake was not different between diabetic rats on a normal-phosphate diet than in nondiabetic controls on the same diet. In contrast, BBMV was significantly lower in diabetic rats on a low-phosphate diet than in nondiabetic controls on the same diet. Exogenous insulin but not calcitriol restored the increase in BBMV phosphate uptake in diabetic rats on a low-phosphate diet. Plasma calcitriol levels were increased threefold in nondiabetic rats fed a low-phosphate diet. Streptozocin-induced diabetes abolished the adaptive increase in plasma calcitriol. Exogenous insulin and calcitriol administration to diabetic rats on a low-phosphate diet resulted in similar increases in plasma calcitriol levels. These results suggest that, during dietary phosphate restriction, insulin stimulates renal phosphate retention independently of its effect on calcitriol.