At day 15 after birth, high serum oestradiol levels, high FSH levels and occasionally high LH levels were observed in control female rats. Injections of potent and specific antisera for oestrogen between days 8-15 prevented LH peaks and decreased basal LH levels. Serum FSH levels were increased after treatment. High oestradiol levels at this time appear to exert a positive feedback action on phasic as well as tonic LH release. Injections of ovine prolactin (0.5 mug/g body wt twice daily) between days 8-25 of life significantly advanced the day of vaginal opening in immature rats and initiated regular oestrous cycles. Such treatment completely prevented high LH levels at day 15 but serum FSH levels remained high. Prolactin and progesterone levels were higher at day 25 than at day 15 in control rats and at that time LH and FSH levels were low. Prolactin treatment had a depressant effect on endogenous prolactin and progesterone levels. It is proposed that after day 20 the positive feedback threshold of oestradiol on LH release is at a mature, highly sensitive level. The steady increment in serum prolactin and/or progesterone levels between day 20 and puberty, however, inhibited phasic LH release thus preventing early puberty. The possible mechanisms of action of prolactin are discussed.