In teleost fish, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a cyclic heptadecapeptide released from the pituitary during white background adaptation. In the periphery MCH concentrates melanin granules in melanophores thus lightening the body color of fish. Evidence from mammalian studies has demonstrated the involvement of MCH in the control of energy balance and the reproductive axis. Information about the hormonal regulation of MCH neurons in non-mammalian systems is scarce and nothing is known about its role in the regulation of the reproductive axis. We here report the molecular characterization of two MCH precursors in the goldfish. Both precursors are peripherally expressed and the expression in the central nervous system is restricted to the mediobasal hypothalamus. Hypothalamic MCH-mRNA production is upregulated during white background adaptation. Both testosterone and estradiol stimulate MCH mRNA expression in the hypothalamus in a sex-dependent manner, with females showing the greatest responsiveness. In addition, in vitroexperiments demonstrated that graded doses of salmon MCH stimulate LH, but not GH, secretion from dispersed pituitary cells. Results suggest that hypothalamic MCH may participate in the steroid positive feedback loop on pituitary LH secretion.