The neuroendocrine manifestations of puberty converge on changes in GnRH secretion. Their appraisal through the assay of GnRH-like material in 24-hour urine extracts shows an increased excretion of this material in the late prepubertal period. The most striking pubertal changes in GnRH secretion occur on a circadian and ultradian basis. In man, they can be evaluated only indirectly. The circadian variations in LH and FSH secretion characteristic of puberty may be observed in timed fractions of 24-hour urine with some delay when compared to the variations of plasma levels. Studies on the frequency of pulsatile LH secretion and during chronic intermittent administration of GnRH support the existence of an increased frequency of GnRH secretory episodes at puberty. LH response to synthetic GnRH is directly related to the frequency of stimulation by endogenous GnRH pulses and provides a very useful index of neuroendocrine maturation in patients with delayed or precocious puberty. A direct evaluation of pulsatile GnRH secretion is possible using the rat hypothalamus in vitro. In these experimental conditions, the frequency of pulsatile GnRH release increases during very early stages of sexual maturation in the male rat. GnRH itself and beta-endorphin are inhibitory regulators of GnRH secretion in vitro and may participate in the mechanisms restraining the pulse-generating machinery in the hypothalamus before puberty.