The development of prolactin receptors in the mammary gland after ovariectomy was investigated in pregnant KA mice. Mice were ovariectomized on day 13 of pregnancy and used for the determination of the amount of specific binding of 125I-labelled prolactin to the mammary tissue, and the contents of lactose and nucleic acids in the mammary gland 0, 8, 24, and 72 hr after the operation. The specific binding of 125I-labelled prolactin, lactose and RNA contents in the mammary gland remained low until 8 hr, sharply increased 24 hr and decreased 72 hr after ovariectomy. When ovariectomized mice were treated with 0.2 mg progesterone, pregnancy was maintained and an increase (1.5-fold) in the amount of specific binding was observed with an increase of lactose content. Five mg progesterone completely inhibited lactose synthesis. Cortisol administered with progesterone did not show any specific change at the dose used (0.5 to 10 mg). Although the amount of specific binding was also increased after hysterectomy, this increase (2-fold) did not fully cover the increase after ovariectomy (3-fold). These results suggest that the recepter site for prolactin is induced before the initiation of lactose synthesis caused by ovariectomy during pregnancy.