Pit-1 is a pituitary-specific POU-domain DNA binding factor, which binds to and trans-activates promoters of growth hormone- (GH), prolactin- (PRL) and thyroid stimulating hormone beta- (TSHbeta) encoding genes. Pit-1 has been identified in several mammalian and avian species. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) is located in the hypothalamus and it stimulates TSH, GH and PRL release from the pituitary gland. In the present study, we successfully developed a competitive RT-PCR for the detection of Pit-1 expression in the chicken pituitary, that was sensitive enough to detect picogram levels of Pit-1 mRNA. Applying this method, the effect of TRH injections on Pit-1 mRNA expression was determined in the pituitary of chick embryos and growing chicks. In both 18-day-old embryos and 10-day-old male chicks the Pit-1 mRNA expression was significantly increased following TRH injection, thereby indicating that the stimulatory effects of TRH on several pituitary hormones is mediated via its effect on Pit-1 expression. Therefore, a semi-quantitative RT-PCR method was used to detect possible changes in GH levels. TRH affected the GH mRNA levels at both developmental stages. These results, combined with the data on Pit-1 mRNA expression, indicate that Pit-1 has a role in mediating the stimulatory effects of TRH on pituitary hormones like GH.