Two distinct nuclear estrogen receptors (ERs) have been identified, the classical one, renamed ERα, and the more recently cloned ERβ. In a variety of tissues, gene expression of both receptor subtypes results in the generation of multiple transcripts encoding the full-length as well as several alternately spliced isoforms. In the rat pituitary, a truncated, tissue-specific variant of ERα, called TERP-1, has been identified and found able to modulate ERα and ERβ activity. So far, its pattern of expression and hormonal regulation have been mostly studied in females. The present study was designed to analyze the pattern of expression of TERP-1 mRNA in the male rat pituitary at different stages of postnatal development, and to evaluate the impact of neonatal imprinting and estrogen treatment upon TERP-1 expression in the male pituitary. Assessment of TERP-1 mRNA levels by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, using a variant-specific primer pair, revealed that TERP-1 is also expressed in the male rat pituitary. Relative mRNA expression levels changed markedly during postnatal development, with moderate expression of the TERP-1 transcript at birth, barely detectable levels during the infantile-prepubertal period, and maximal values in adulthood. Expression of TERP-1 was sensitive to neonatal estrogen exposure, which resulted in a significant, persistent increase in mRNA levels from the infantile period until puberty. This phenomenon was not mimicked by neonatal blockade of endogenous GnRH. In addition, estrogen was able to acutely up-regulate pituitary TERP-1 mRNA expression levels in prepubertal (30-day-old) and adult (75-day-old) males. Interestingly, neonatal imprinting as well as acute estrogen treatment resulted in opposite effects on TERP-1 and full-length ERα and ERβ transcripts, the latter being decreased under both conditions. In conclusion, our data indicate that TERP-1 mRNA is expressed in a developmentally regulated manner in the male rat pituitary, and is affected by neonatal estrogen imprinting and acute estrogen treatment. Regulation of TERP-1 expression by neonatal or acute estrogen treatment may thus represent an additional tuning mechanism for estrogen actions in the male rat pituitary.