[en] In vitro release and content of GnRH in mediobasal hypothalamic slices are reduced by ovariectomy of female ferrets but are not affected by castration of male ferrets in breeding condition. The aim of the present study was to determine whether this sex difference reflects a sexually dimorphic effect of gonadal steroids on mediobasal hypothalamic GnRH mRNA content of male and female ferrets killed 4 weeks after gonadectomy, either with or without steroid hormone replacement. This time interval exceeds the 6-10 days needed for increments in plasma LH concentrations to stabilize after gonadectomy of ferrets of both sexes. In situ hybridization using an (35)S-labelled oligoprobe complementary to the human GnRH coding region showed that the number of mediobasal hypothalamic neurones and the cellular content of GnRH mRNA did not differ significantly among groups of male and female ferrets that were either in breeding condition or that had been gonadectomized and treated with sex steroids or oil vehicle. These results indicate that gonadal hormones regulate mediobasal hypothalamic GnRH biosynthesis and release in both sexes via post-transcriptional events that may include GnRH mRNA translation or the conversion of pre-pro GnRH precursor into mature GnRH.