In low phosphate, vitamin D-deficiency rickets normal mineralization is reversibly arrested, and rickets is thus a suitable model for studying factors influencing the mineralization process. Partly on the basis of their distribution within the growth cartilage, the so-called matrix vesicles are considered to play an important role in the process of mineralization and it has been claimed that the distribution pattern is the same in rickets as in normal animals. With the use of modern stereological techniques, our group recently demonstrated a matrix vesicle distribution between the zones of the epiphyseal growth plate in normal rats different from that described earlier. The same bimodal distribution pattern was observed in rachitic rats in the present study, the highest volume density being found in the resting and upper hypertrophic zones and the lowest in the proliferative zone. The volume density differences are explained by differences in the number of vesicles between zones, the variation in mean caliper diameter being small. Our findings are discussed in relation to the proposed theories on matrix vesicle origin. The results seem to support the dynamic cell debris theory for matrix vesicle origin presented earlier, but the existence of subpopulations of matrix vesicles with a specialized function and origin cannot be ruled out.