The hypercalciuria that eventually remains after the successful removal of a solitary parathyroid adenoma may originate from excessive intestinal calcium absorption, bone resorption or deficient renal reabsorption. In order to clarify this question, ten patients surgically cured from primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPx), ten age-matched normal subjects and five nephrolithiasic patients with renal hypercalciuria (RH) were studied after five days on a low calcium diet, either during fasting or after oral calcium load. Fasting serum calcium, amino-terminal and intact PTH levels and also urinary cAMP excretion were normal in every individual patient. Serum ionized calcium and inulin clearance (GFR) were used for calculations of the filtered load (FL Ca) and the fractional excretion of calcium (FE Ca). Six PHPx patients displayed fasting calciuria above the upper limit calculated for control subjects, despite having the lowest GFR and FL Ca (p < 0.05 vs control). These patients (h-PHPx) had a small calciuric response to oral calcium load. Serum 1,25-(OH)2D3 and 25OHD3 did not correlate with calciuria. Our findings exclude intestinal hyperabsorption and excessive bone resorption in h-PHPx patients, and strongly suggest a renal tubular defect in calcium reabsorption as the cause of their hypercalciuria. This defect could be primary, as in RH, but only three hPHPx patients had recurrent kidney stones before surgery. On the other hand, as a negative correlation between GFR and FE Ca was only found in PHPx patients, it seems probable that the disturbances in glomerular and tubular functions were secondary to the long standing hypercalcemic hyperparathyroidism.