Spontaneous pulsatile growth hormone (GH) secretion and stress-induced suppression of GH was examined in chronically cannulated male rats with electrolytic lesions of the periventricular preoptic anterior hypothalamic area (PO/AHA) where somatostatin neurons innervating the median eminence are known to be located. Median eminence somatostatin was depleted in lesioned animals by 85%. Bursts of GH secretion occurred more frequently than in sham-lesioned animals (1.9 ± 0.2 vs. 2.6 ± 0.2 h, respectively, P < 0.025), however, average concentrations of GH were reduced by lesions (118.4 ± 11.6 vs 192.3 ± 28.4 ng/ml, p < 0.025). Suppression of GH by stress was unaffected by PO/AHA lesions. It is concluded that somatostatin plays only minor roles in the generation of GH troughs during rhythmic GH secretion, and in the suppression of GH during stress. Inhibition of GH releasing factor secretion, therefore, is presumed to be the likely method by which GH suppression is achieved in these physiological situations.