Neonatal oestrogen administration to male rats permanently impaired the function of the pituitary-testicular axis possibly by inhibiting neonatal gonadotrophin secretion. To analyse the hypothalamus and/or pituitary involvement in this inhibition, pituitary responsiveness to acute stimulation with LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) was studied in vivo and in vitro in Wistar male rats injected on day 1 of age with oestradiol benzoate (OB) or olive oil. FSH and LH pituitary content and plasma concentrations were reduced in oestrogenized male rats at days 10 and 16 of age. Likewise, the in-vivo increase in gonadotrophin plasma concentrations after acute stimulation with LHRH was almost completely suppressed in 10-and 16-day-old oestrogenized males. In vitro, the increased secretion of FSH after LHRH stimulation was abolished and the LH response strongly reduced in pituitaries from oestrogenized males. Finally, the effects of neonatal oestrogenization were not abolished by treatment from day 1 to day 15 with an LHRH agonist (0·01 μg/kg per 12 h). We conclude that in male rats the effects of oestrogenization are due to both a reduction in LHRH endogenous secretion and a decrease in the pituitary responsiveness to LHRH.