Kisspeptins have recently emerged as essential regulators of gonadotropin secretion and puberty onset. These functions are primarily conducted by stimulation of hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. However, relevant aspects of KiSS-1 physiology, including the ontogeny and major signaling systems of its stimulatory action, remain to be fully elucidated. To cover these issues, the effects of kisspeptin-10 on GnRH and LH secretion were monitored at early stages of postnatal maturation, and potential changes in the sensitivity to kisspeptin were assessed along the pubertal transition in the rat. In addition, the signaling cascades involved in kisspeptin-induced GnRH secretion were explored by means of pharmacological blockade using rat hypothalamic explants. Despite sexual immaturity, kisspeptin-10 potently elicited GnRH release ex vivo and LH secretion in vivo at early stages (neonatal to juvenile) of postnatal development. Yet, LH responsiveness to low doses of kisspeptin was enhanced in peri-pubertal animals. Concerning GnRH secretion, the stimulatory action of kisspeptin-10 required activation of phospholipase-C, mobilization of intracellular Ca2+ and recruitment of ERK1/2 and p38 kinases, but was preserved after blockade of type 2 cyclo-oxygenase and prostaglandin synthesis. In summary, our present data document the ontogeny, sensitivity and intracellular signals for the stimulatory action of kisspeptin on the GnRH/LH axis in the rat. Although LH responses to low doses of kisspeptin appeared to be enhanced at puberty, kisspeptin was able to readily activate the GnRH system at early stages of postnatal maturation. These observations further stress the essential role of kisspeptin in normal, and eventually pathological, timing of puberty.