EGR1 and PITX1 are transcription factors required for gonadotroph cell Lhb promoter activation. To determine changes in Egr1 and Pitx1 mRNA levels in central and peripheral pituitary stimulations, an in vivo model based on i.c.v. pulsatile (1 pulse/0.5 h over 2 h) GnRH agonist (1.5 nM buserelin) or antagonist (2 nM antide) microinjections was used. The microinjections were given to ovariectomised and 17β-oestradiol (E2) (3×20 μg), ERA (ESR1) agonist propyl pyrazole triol (PPT) (3×0.5 mg), ERB (ESR2) agonist diarylpropionitrile (DPN) (3×0.5 mg) s.c. pre-treated rats 30 min after last pulse anterior pituitaries were excised. Relative mRNA expression was determined by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Results revealed a gene-specific response for GnRH and/or oestrogenic stimulations in vivo. Buserelin pulses enhanced Egr1 expression by 66% in ovariectomised rats, whereas the oestradiol-supplemented+i.c.v. NaCl-microinjected group showed a 50% increase in Egr1 mRNA expression. The oestrogenic signal was transmitted via ERA (ESR1) and ERB (ESR2) activation as administration of PPT and DPN resulted in 97 and 62%, respectively, elevation in Egr1 mRNA expression. A synergistic action of GnRH agonist and 17β-oestradiol (E2) stimulation of the Egr1 gene transcription in vivo were found. GnRHR activity did not affect Pitx1 mRNA expression; regardless of NaCl, buserelin or antide i.c.v. pulses, s.c. oestrogenic supplementation (with E2, PPT or DPN) consistently decreased (by -46, -48 and -41% respectively) the Pitx1 mRNA in the anterior pituitary gland. Orchestrated Egr1 and Pitx1 activities depending on specific central and peripheral regulatory inputs could be responsible for physiologically variable Lhb gene promoter activation in vivo.