We examined the specificity of the steroidal antiestrogen ICI 182,780 (ICI) on bone and reproductive tissues in adult and growing female rats. Using a 1.5-mg/kg dose (sc), we evaluated the effects of ICI on the bone, body weight, uterine weight, serum cholesterol, and serum estradiol in either adult and/or growing rats. ICI increased serum estradiol cholesterol in ovary-intact rats, had no effect on uterine weight in ovariectomized rats, and resulted in uterine atrophy in ovary-intact animals comparable with ovariectomy. In contrast, ICI had no effect on body weight. In bone, ICI significantly increased the rate of periosteal bone formation in long bones of growing and mature female rats. In contrast, ICI had no effect on longitudinal bone growth in rapidly growing rats. When ICI was administered to mature rats with or without ovaries, two-factor ANOVA revealed significant interaction (P ≤ 0.05) between ovariectomy and ICI treatment for cancellous bone area and labeled bone perimeter. ICI increased skeletal indices of bone turnover in the cancellous bone of ovary-intact rats but reduced these indices of bone turnover in the cancellous bone of ovariectomized rats. The increase in bone turnover was associated with a reduction in cancellous bone area in the ovary-intact rats. A reduction in bone turnover was similarly associated with an increase in bone area in the ICI-treated ovariectomized rats. In summary, ICI exhibited complete estrogen antagonism in cortical and cancellous bone, partial agonism in cancellous bone, and no activity on tibial longitudinal growth rate of growing ovary-intact rats. The effects in adult rats were influenced by circulating levels of estradiol. ICI had no activity on body weight and complete antagonism on uterine weight. These results demonstrate that a ligand with high binding affinity to the estrogen receptor(s) can elicit an array of estrogen-mediated regulation of bone metabolism.