Hypophysial portal blood and peripheral blood were obtained from conscious, unrestrained rams to measure simultaneously the secretion of LHRH and LH in entire rams and rams which had been castrated for 2-15 days (short-term castration) and for 1-6 months (long-term castration). The apparatus for portal blood collection was surgically implanted using a transnasal trans-sphenoidal approach and, 4-5 days later, portal blood and peripheral blood were collected simultaneously at 10-min intervals for 8-9 h from 15 sheep. LHRH was clearly secreted in pulses in all three physiological conditions, but there were marked differences in pulse frequencies, which averaged 1 pulse/2-4 h in entire rams, 1 pulse/70 min in short-term castrated rams and 1 pulse/36 min in long-term castrated rams. In entire and short-term castrated animals, LH profiles were also clearly pulsatile and each LHRH pulse in hypophysial portal blood was associated with an LH pulse in the peripheral blood. In long-term castrated animals, LH pulses were not as well defined, because of the high basal levels and small pulse amplitudes, and the temporal relationship between LHRH and LH pulses was not always clear. These results demonstrate the pulsatile nature of LHRH secretion under the three physiological conditions and suggest that the irregular LH profiles characteristic of long-term castrates are due to an inability of the pituitary gland to transduce accurately the hypothalamic signal. The very high frequency of the LHRH pulses may be one of the major reasons for this, and is probably also responsible for the high rate of LH secretion in the long-term castrated animal.