Abstract The activities of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine-β-hydroxylase were measured in the medial basal hypothalamus and remaining hypothalamic tissue of female rats at various times during diestru 2, proestrus and estrus. Tyrosine hydroxylase activity in the medial basal hypothalamus was significantly lower at 12.00 h compared with other times on proestrus. This decrease preceded the elevation of serum prolactin and LH during the afternoon of proestrus. Tyrosine hydroxylase activity did not change significantly during diestrus 2 or estrus nor was it altered at any time in the remainder of the hypothalamus. Dopamine-β-hydroxylase activity in the basal medial hypothalamus was significantly elevated at 12.00 h on proestrus and at 14.00 h on diestrus. The results provide further evidence for a decrease in dopaminergic neuron activity in the medial basal hypothalamus which may precipitate the series of events leading to the LH surge during proestrus. The increase in dopamine-β-hydroxylase activity suggests that an increase in noradrenergic neuron activity may also be involved in triggering the release of LH.