This study investigated progesterone receptor (PR) cDNA expression in the testes, prostate and bulbourethral glands of prepubertal calves treated experimentally with high and low doses of 17β-oestradiol and with testosterone. Tissue samples were examined histologically and immunohistochemically for PR. Western blot analysis and quantitative PCR against PR was performed on cDNA and protein extracted from the same tissues. Bulbourethral glands from animals treated with low and high dosages of 17β-oestradiol had 39- and 429-fold increases of PR transcript, respectively, compared with controls. In the prostate there were 7.5- and 16-fold increases, respectively. Animals treated with testosterone showed no increases in PR transcript. The results demonstrate that 17β-oestradiol specifically induces marked overexpression of the PR gene and protein, particularly in the bulbourethral gland.