The role of zinc in gonadal function was investigated in rats. The increases in luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone were assayed after intravenous administration of synthetic luteinizing-hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) to zinc-deficient and restricted-fed control rats. Body weight gain, zinc content of testes, and weight of testes were significantly lower in the zinc-deficient rats compared with the controls. The serum LH and FSH response to LHRH administration were higher in the zinc-deficient rats but serum testosterone response was lower in comparison with the restricted-fed controls. These studies indicate a specific effect of zinc on testes and suggest that gonadal function in zinc-deficient state is affected through some alteration of testicular steroidogenesis.