There is still debate as to whether natural sequence gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is produced in the mammalian gonads and concerning its potential role as a paracrine modulator of gonadal function. To address this question, we have used insitu hybridization histochemistry with an oligonucleotide probe complementary to the GnRH decapeptide coding sequence, to determine the cellular site(s) of expression of the GnRH gene in rodent ovaries. GnRH mRNA was detected in granulosa and thecal cells from ovarian follicles at all stages of development (primary→Graafian), with no significant change in grain density during follicular development. The granulosa cell compartment always contained more mRNA than the thecal cell compartment. Corpora lutea expressed the GnRH gene to the same extent as thecal cells. These results indicate that preproGnRH mRNA is detectable under physiological conditions in the mammalian ovary, though whether this produces authentic GnRH decapeptide or an alternative protein product is not known. The physiological significance of these findings remains to be determined.