Twenty-four hour secretory rhythms of growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) were investigated in 9 normal adult men by means of serial blood sampling at 30 min intervals. The profiles of pituitary hormones were compared in 6 subjects between in normal nocturnal sleep condition and in delayed sleep condition. Plasma GH was measured with use of highly sensitive enzyme immunoassay (EIA) recently developed. Plasma TSH was also evaluated by highly sensitive time-resolved fluorometric immunoassay (TR-FIA). Time series analysis of plasma GH and PRL was performed by auto- and cross- correlation and spectral analysis. The detection limit of EIA for GH was 0.3 pg/ml and all plasma GH levels were within the detectable range of this EIA. Cross-correlation and spectral analysis suggested the presence of approximately 2-3 h rhythmicity of plasma GH. Plasma PRL appeared to have some 24-hour rhythmicity besides its sleep-dependent component. Sleep deprivation caused marked elevation of plasma TSH during night time. It is suggested that there appears two mechanisms regulating GH secretion: one has a sleep-independent and ultradian rhythm and another has a sleep-dependent rhythm.