The magnitude of luteinizing hormone (LH) release during a 3-hr test incubation was diminished (P < 0.05) when anterior pituitary cells from young turkeys were cultured for 24 to 120 hr. This trend was evident with basal LH release and with LH release induced by luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) or hypothalamic extract. Anterior pituitary cells were cultured with various concentrations (10-14 to 10-6 M) of estradiol (E2), progesterone (P4), or testosterone (T) for 24 hr and then exposed to LH-RH or control medium for 3 hr, still in the presence of steroids. Basal LH release was potentiated (P < 0.05) when cells were cultured with 10-8 or 10-6 M T, but not with E2 or P4. When cells were cultured with E2, LH release in the presence of 10-8 M LH-RH was enhanced (P < 0.05) in a dose-dependent fashion. LH-RH mediated LH release was also enhanced (P < 0.05) when cells were cultured with 10-8 M P4 or 10-6 M T. Gonadal steroids can act directly on the anterior pituitary of the young domestic turkey to modulate LH release, with T enhancing basal LH release and E2 potentiating LH-RH-medlated LH release.