The secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and the GnRH receptor (GnRH-R) concentration are modulated by ovarian steroids and GnRH. To elucidate whether this regulation is due to alterations at the transcriptional level, we examined the GnRH I-R mRNA expression in the gonadotroph-derived cell line αT3-1 treated with different estradiol and progesterone paradigms and the GnRH I agonist triptorelin. αT3-1 cells were treated with different steroid paradigms: 1 n M estradiol or 100 n M progesterone for 48 h alone or in combination. Cells were exposed to 10 nM or 100 p M triptorelin for 30 min, 3 h, 9 h, or, in pulsatile way, with a 5-min pulse per hour. The GnRH I-R mRNA was determined by Northern blot analysis. GnRH I-R mRNA from cells treated with continuous triptorelin decreased in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Pulsatile triptorelin increased GnRH I-R gene expression. Progesterone alone further enhanced this effect, whereas estradiol and its combination with progesterone diminished it. Continuous combined treatment with estradiol and progesterone lead to a significant decrease of GnRH I-R mRNA by 30% and by 35% for estradiol alone. The addition of 10 n M triptorelin for 30 min or 3 h could not influence that steroid effect. In conclusion, estradiol and progesterone exclusively decreased GnRH I-R mRNA in αT3-1 cells no matter whether they are treated additionally with the GnRH I agonist triptorelin. The enhanced sensitivity of gonadotrophs and GnRH I-R upregulation by estradiol is not due to increased GnRH I gene expression because GnRH I-R mRNA is downregulated by estradiol and progesterone. Other pathways of the GnRH I-R signal transduction might be involved.