Plasma levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) as well as the response of LH and FSH to the intravenous administration of 100 mug of luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LRH) were measured in 16 well-trained athletes (mean age 30 years) before and after 2 months of daily oral intake of 15 mg of metandienon, and anabolic steroid (Anabolin, 17 alpha-methyl-17beta-hydroxy-1,4-androstadien-3-one, Medica, Finland). All athletes continued to train regularly, just as they had done for several years. During administration of metandienon the mean plasma testosterone level fell 69%, from 29.4 +/- 11.6 nmol/1 to 9.1 +/- 7.5 nmol/1. The mean plasma levels of LH and FSH also fell significantly (P less than 0.001 and P less than 0.01, respectively), both about 50%. Because LH and FSH levels were low after administration of the steroid the maximum stimulation values after LRH administration were also lower than pre-treatment values although the mean increments did not differ significantly before and after administration of the anabolic steroid. However, after treatment, the FSH response curve had a biphasic pattern in most subjects, with peaks at 10 to 20 and 50 to 60 min after the iv injection of LRH. Administration of LRH after the treatment period had no effect on FSH secretion in two subjects and no effect on LH secretion in one. Our results show that administration of an anabolic steroid causes a pronounced lowering of plasma levels of testosterone, LH and FSH but causes no gross alteration in the response of LH secretion to stimulation by LRH. The reason for the biphasic response pattern of FSH to LRH administration in most subjects is not known.