The role of androgen in the sexual dimorphism in hypothalamic growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone (GHRH) and somatostatin (SS) gene expression was examined in rats. In the first study, the SS and GHRH mRNA levels were measured in both male and female rats at 4, 6, 8, and 10 weeks of age. A significant sex-related difference in the SS and GHRH mRNA levels was observed after 8 weeks of age, when sexual maturation is fully attained. Male rats had higher SS and GHRH mRNA levels than the female rats. In the second study, adult ovariectomized rats received daily injection of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), nonaromatizable testosterone, at a dose of 2 mg/rat for 21 days. The DHT treatment masculinized the GH secretory pattern, which was indistinguishable from that of intact male rats, and simultaneously augmented the SS and GHRH mRNA levels. The DHT treatment of ovariectomized rats after hypophysectomy significantly raised the level of SS mRNA, but not that of GHRH mRNA compared to the control animals. These findings suggest that the activation of the SS gene expression through androgen receptor plays an important role in the maintenance of sexual dimorphism in GH secretion in rats.