The effect of steroids on the two gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) forms present in the eel (mammalian GnRH, mGnRH and chicken GnRH-II, cGnRH-II), as well as on gonadotropin (GTH), was studied using specific radioimmunoassays. Female silver eels received chronic treatments with various steroids (estradiol, testosterone, androstenedione, 5α-androstane-3β,17β-diol). Estradiol or the combination of estradiol and androgens induced increases in brain and pituitary mGnRH levels and pituitary GTH level, whereas androgens given alone had no significant effect. In contrast, androgens or their combination with estradiol reduced brain cGnRH-II levels (this form remaining undetectable in the pituitary), estradiol given alone having no significant effect. This work demonstrates that the two forms of GnRH undergo a differential regulation by steroids, with a positive estrogen-dependent feedback on mGnRH (as well as on GTH) and a negative androgen-dependent feedback on cGnRH-II. These data are in agreement with previous results obtained in experimentally matured female eels (induced by a gonadotropic treatment which stimulates the production of both estrogens and androgens) showing increases in mGnRH and GTH levels, as well as a decrease in cGnRH-II . The positive feedback of steroids on the mGnRH-GTH axis adds credence to the hypothesis according to which mGnRH would be the main form involved in the control of the gonadotropic function. This positive feedback would play an important role, amplifying pubertal stimulation of the gonadotropic axis, in this fish species.