Fasting male subjects received each of four treatments on different days: a large oral dose of monosodium L-glutamate (MSG; 12.7 g), the MSG vehicle, an iv injection of TRH, or a high protein meal. Blood samples were drawn via an indwelling venous line before and at 20-min intervals after each treatment for 4 h. Plasma glutamate levels rose 11-fold within 1 h of MSG ingestion, but did not change appreciably with any of the other treatments. Plasma PRL levels rose 10-fold after TRH infusion and 2-fold after the protein meal, but did not rise significantly after MSG ingestion. No effects resulted from any of the treatments on plasma LH, FSH, testosterone, GH, or cortisol concentrations. Plasma levels of TSH, T4, and T3 showed minimal changes after any of the treatments except TRH; TRH elevated plasma TSH and T3 levels. Self-rating instruments of mood and side-effects revealed no treatment-related effects on mood or physical state for up to 48 h after each treatment. Together, these results suggest that acute pharmacological elevations of plasma glutamate levels in adult men produce minimal, if any, effects on hypothalamic or pituitary function.