Previous studies indicate that the major pelvic ganglion (PG) is dependent on testosterone for normal development. Tyrosine hydroxylase (T-OH), DOPA decarboxylase, and choline acetyltransferase (CAT) activities are significantly reduced by postnatal castration on day 10-11, while testosterone replacement therapy reversed all developmental enzyme activity deficits (Melvin and Hamill, 1987). In the present studies castration on the day of birth combined with various testosterone-replacement paradigms produced effects demonstrating that the PG is sensitive to testosterone dosage and time of administration during early postnatal development. Gonadal hormone replacement experiments show that the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone were effective in restoring T-OH and CAT activity deficits produced by neonatal castration. Estrogen therapy reversed the deficits in CAT activity, but was ineffective in reversing the alterations in T-OH activity. Treatment of pregnant dams with the anti-androgen flutamide altered the ontogeny of T-OH and CAT activities in pups despite replacement therapy on the day of birth. Thus, androgen-critical periods exist prenatally as well as postnatally. These studies suggest that the organization of PG development is critically dependent on both the time of exposure and dose of testosterone. Prenatal and postnatal critical periods appear to exist. In addition, the lack of an effect of estradiol on tyrosine hydroxylase activity suggests that androgens are specifically responsible for organizing the noradrenergic development of the PG.