Pituitary and serum levels of homologous growth hormone (GH) and characteristics of specific GH-releasing factor (GHRF) binding to pituitary homogenates were examined in transgenic mice expressing bovine GH (bGH) gene regulated by different promoters [mouse metallothionein-I (MT) or phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK)] and in their normal littermates. Pituitary GH concentration and GHRF binding were reduced by approximately 50% in transgenic MT-bGH mice in which serum bGH levels were about 20 μg/l and by approximately 95% in transgenic PEPCK-bGH mice in which serum bGH levels were tenfold higher. Suppression of plasma immunoreactive mouse GH (mGH) levels was detected in MT-bGH but not in PEPCK-bGH animals, presumably due to cross-reaction of the antiserum employed with bGH. Scatchard plots of GHRF binding to washed homogenates of pituitary glands from normal and young adult MT-bGH transgenic mice were curvilinear, indicating the presence of two types of binding sites, with low and high affinities. Both types of binding sites were reduced in number in MT-bGH transgenic mice without changes in their affinity. In 5–7-month-old MT-bGH transgenic mice there were changes in pituitary GH levels, in GHRF binding levels and in characteristics of GHRF binding that closely resembled the alterations described previously in aging rats. We conclude that over-expression of heterologous GH genes in transgenic mice can lead to partial or virtually complete suppression of somatotroph function, depending on the levels of heterologous GH in the circulation, and that transgenic MT-bGH mice exhibit symptoms of remarkably early onset of neuroendocrine aging.