Analyses of the urinary concentration relative to creatinine of the collagen crosslinks, pyridinoline (Pyd) and deoxy-pyridinoline (Dpd) were made in 47 patients with metabolic bone diseases to assess the validity of these assays as indicators of bone resorption. The mean values for patients with Paget's disease of bone, primary hyperparathyroidism and osteomalacia were significantly higher (P less than 0.001) than those for age-matched healthy individuals. During treatment of Paget's disease with bisphosphonates, there was a steady decline in the urinary concentration of the crosslinks to the normal range; this change occurred earlier than for serum alkaline phosphatase. There were significant correlations (P less than 0.01) between the concentrations of both crosslinks and the corresponding values for hydroxyproline. At lower crosslink concentrations, however, these relationships were less marked due to large variations in hydroxyproline values. The results show that measurements of urinary Pyd and Dpd provide clinically applicable indices of bone resorption that are more specific than other markers.