Estradiol (E2) may enhance somatomedin-C (Sm-C) secretion during puberty in female rhesus monkeys. The present study evaluated the importance of age and acute changes in E2 on Sm-C secretion. Intact (INT) females at their first ovulation (age 3.5 yr; n = 6) had higher levels of Sm-C across the ovulatory cycle than did intact adults (ADT) (n = 5). Levels of Sm-C were similar for both groups during the follicular and luteal phases despite higher follicular phase levels of E2. Young, ovariectomized, E2-treated (E2OVX) females (age 3.5 yr; n = 5; E2 = 50 pg/ml) had higher basal levels of Sm-C than did either age-matched ovariectomized (OVX) females (n = 3), ovariectomized adults (OXA), or E2-treated ovariectomized adults (E2A) (E2 = 100 pg/ml). When ovariectomized groups were given E2 to induce ovulatory increases, no changes in serum Sm-C occurred. Comparisons among age-mates revealed that basal levels of Sm-C were similar between INT and E2OVX, yet these levels were higher than those for OVX. Sm-C levels were similar among all adult groups. Serum growth hormone (GH) was highest in E2OVX, next highest in INT and OVX, and lowest in all adults. Higher Sm-C levels in young animals are, thus, related to these age differences in GH concentrations and are further enhanced by basal levels of E2 and not by acute changes in this steroid. Low Sm-C secretion in adults is associated with low GH levels. Thus, the facilitory effect of basal E2 on Sm-C release is observed during conditions when basal GH levels are elevated, a situation normally limited to adolescence.