Nerve growth factor (NGF) is synthesized in male germ cells. The NGF receptor (NGFR) mRNA was found in the Sertoli cells of rat testis. Hypophysectomy increased both NGFR mRNA in testis and the number of NGFR hybridizing cells in seminiferous tubules. This was suppressed by treatment with chorionic gonadotropin or testosterone, but not with follicle-stimulating hormone. The NGFR mRNA also increased after destruction of Leydig cells or blocking of the androgen receptor. This suggests that NGF produced by male germ cells regulates testicular function in an androgen-modulated fashion by mediating an interaction germ and Sertoli cells.