The metabolic clearance rate (MCR) and initial half-disappearance time (T(1/2)i) of salmon gonadotropin-releasing hormone (sGnRH) and its agonist analog [D-Arg6,Pro9-NEt]-sGnRH (sGnRH-A) were investigated in goldfish, following a single intraarterial injection of radioiodinated sGnRH and sGnRH-A. The tissue uptake of radioiodinated sGnRH-A was also investigated. 125I-sGnRH had a MCR of 0.01173 ml min-1 35 g-1 and a (T(1/2)i) of 32.38 min; 125I-sGnRH-A had a MCR of 0.0192 ml min-1 35 g-1 and a (T(1/2)i) of 72.95 min. In the tissue uptake experiments, high levels of accumulated labeled sGnRH-A were generally found in the gills, kidney, liver, and pituitary compared to air bladder, brain, gonad, eyes, and muscle. Coinjection of excess amount of cold sGnRH-A caused decreased uptake of labeled sGnRH-A only in pituitary, but increased accumulation of labeled sGnRH-A in some other tissues. Our results show a correlation between the T(1/2)i and the affinity of the peptides for a serum GnRH binding protein present in the goldfish, suggesting that the formation of a hormone-binding protein complex may decrease the MCR of GnRH in the circulation in goldfish. Our data also indicate specific uptake of 125I-sGnRH-A by the pituitaries of both male and female goldfish, confirming the pituitary as a major target organ of GnRH in goldfish.