The RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) technique was used to analyze GnRH mRNA and GnRH-R mRNA in the preoptic area, anterior and ventromedial hypothalamus, and GnRH-R mRNA in the stalk/median eminence and anterior pituitary gland of follicular ewes subjected to short (3 h during one day) or prolonged (5 h daily during four consecutive days) footshock stimulation. To analyze relationship between expression of GnRH and GnRH-R genes with LH secretion the blood samples were collected at 10 min intervals to determine LH levels in control and stressed animals. The concentration of GnRH mRNA increased significantly in the preoptic area, anterior and ventromedial hypothalamus of ewes subjected to short stress. The prolonged stressful stimuli significantly decreased GnRH mRNA levels in all analyzed structures. In short stressed ewes the significant augmentation of mRNA encoding GnRH-R was detected in the preoptic area, entire hypothalamus, stalk/median eminence and anterior pituitary gland. The GnRH-R mRNA was significantly reduced in all tested structures of animals subjected to prolonged footshocking except for the preoptic area, where GnRH-R mRNA did not differ from control values. The changes in GnRH mRNA and GnRH-R mRNA levels under short or prolonged stress were associated with an increase or decrease of LH concentration in blood plasma, suggesting the existence of a direct relationship between GnRH mRNA and GnRH-R mRNA expression with LH secretion. The results indicate that the expression of both GnRH gene and GnRH-R gene, as well as LH secretion in ewes during the follicular phase of the estrous cycle, are dependent upon the kind of stress.