Studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of acute (24 h) thermal stress on anterior pituitary function in hens. Circulating levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) were measured and the ability of the pituitary to respond to luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) challenge was determined. Moreover, bioassayable hypothalamic LHRH content was assessed by using dispersed anterior pituitary cells. In two separate experiments, circulating levels of LH were reduced in hens exposed to acute thermal stress (35°C). Injection of LHRH did not result in significant differences in release of LH between normothermic and hyperthermic hens. However, the hypothalamic content of bioassayable hypothalamic releasing activity from hyperthermic hens were significantly reduced compared with normothermic hens. Taken together, these data suggest that the reproductive decline in the acutely heat-stressed hen is mediated by reduced LH releasing ability of the hypothalamus.