Gonadotropin secretion by the pituitary gland is under the control of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and the putative follicle-stimulating hormone-releasing factor (FSHRF). Lamprey III LHRH is a potent FSHRF in the rat and appears to be resident in the FSH controlling area of the rat hypothalamus. It is an analog of mammalian LHRH and may be the long-sought FSHRF. Gonadal steroids feedback at hypothalamic and pituitary levels to either inhibit or stimulate the release of LH and FSH, which is also affected by inhibin and activin secreted by the gonads. Important control is exercised by acetylcholine, norepinephrine (NE), dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and glutamic acid (GA). Furthermore, LH and FSH also act at the hypothalamic level to alter secretion of gonadotropins. More recently, growth factors have been shown to have an important role. Many peptides act to inhibit or increase release of LH, and the sign of their action is often reversed by estrogen. A number of cytokines act at the hypothalamic level to suppress acutely the release of LH but not FSH. NE, GA and oxytocin stimulate LHRH release by activation of neural nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). The pathway is as follows: oxytocin and/or GA activate NE neurons in the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH) that activate NOergic neurons by α<sub>1</sub> receptors. The NO released diffuses into LHRH terminals and induces LHRH release by activation of guanylate cyclase (GC) and cyclooxygenase. NO not only controls release of LHRH bound for the pituitary, but also that which induces mating by actions in the brain stem. An exciting recent development has been the discovery of the adipocyte hormone, leptin, a cytokine related to tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). In the male rat, leptin exhibits a high potency to stimulate FSH and LH release from hemipituitaries incubated in vitro, and increases the release of LHRH from MBH explants by stimulating the release of NO. LHRH and leptin release LH by activation of NOS in the gonadotropes. The NO released activates GC that releases cyclic GMP which induces LH release. Leptin induces LH release in conscious, ovariectomized estrogen-primed female rats, presumably by stimulating LHRH release. At the effective dose of estrogen to activate LH release, FSH release is inhibited. Leptin may play an important role in induction of puberty and control of LHRH release in the adult as well.