Kisspeptin is the peptide product of the KiSS-1 gene and the endogenous agonist for the GPR54 receptor. Recent evidence suggests the kisspeptin/GPR54 system is a key regulator of the reproductive system. We examined the effect of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) and peripheral administration of the active kisspeptin fragment, kisspeptin-10, on circulating gonadotrophins and total testosterone levels in adult male rats. The effect of kisspeptin-10 in vitro on the release of hypothalamic peptides from hypothalamic explants and gonadotrophins from anterior pituitary fragments was also determined. The i.c.v. administration of kisspeptin-10 dose-dependently increased plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) and increased plasma follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and total testosterone at 60 min postinjection. In a separate study investigating the time course of this response, i.c.v. administered kisspeptin-10 (3 nmol) significantly increased plasma LH at 10, 20 and 60 min, FSH at 60 min and total testosterone at 20 and 60 min postinjection. Kisspeptin-10 stimulated the release of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) from in vitro hypothalamic explants. Peripheral administration of kisspeptin-10 increased plasma LH, FSH and total testosterone. However, doses of 100-1000 nM kisspeptin-10 did not influence LH or FSH release from pituitary fragments in vitro. Kisspeptin therefore potently stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. These effects are likely to be mediated via the hypothalamic LHRH system.