Inhibin-α knockout (Inha-/-) female mice develop sex cord-stromal ovarian cancer with complete penetrance and previous studies demonstrate that the pituitary gonadotropins (FSH and LH) are influential modifiers of granulosa cell tumor development and progression in inhibin-deficient females. Recent studies have demonstrated that Inha-/- ovarian follicles develop precociously to the early antral stage in prepubertal mice without any increase in serum FSH. These studies suggest that in the absence of inhibins, granulosa cells differentiate abnormally and thus at sexual maturity may undergo an abnormal response to gonadotropin signaling contributing to tumor development. To test this hypothesis, we stimulated immature wild-type and Inha-/- female mice with gonadotropin analogs prior to tumor formation and subsequently examined gonadotropin-induced ovarian follicle development as well as preovulatory and human chorionic gonadotropin-induced gene expression changes in granulosa cells. We find that at 3 wk of age, inhibin-deficient ovaries do not show further antral development or undergo cumulus expansion. In addition, there are widespread alterations in the transcriptome of gonadotropin-treated Inha-/- granulosa cells, with significant changes in genes involved in extracellular matrix and cell-cell communication. These data indicate the gonadotropins initiate an improper program of cell differentiation prior to tumor formation in the absence of inhibins.