The levels of type X collagen in mineralizing normal chicken epiphyses and nonmineralizing rachitic chicken tibial epiphyses were measured and compared. Qualitative immunoperoxidase studies with anti-chick type X collagen monoclonal antibodies on sections from normal and rachitic cartilage demonstrated that the type X collagen levels in rachitic growth plates are reduced. Northern hybridization of mRNA and biosynthetic studies have confirmed that type X collagen synthesis in rickets is also decreased. In hypocalcemic rickets, the level of type X collagen mRNA is reduced by 80% whereas the level of type X collagen mRNA is only reduced by 50% in normocalcemic rickets. These observations provide additional evidence that type X collagen is involved in the process of cartilage mineralization and also suggest that the partial recovery of type X collagen synthesis in normocalcemic rickets may be related to the elevated plasma concentration of calcium. Calcium concentration may therefore play an important role in the control of type X collagen synthesis.