Chemical analyses have previously detected sulfate linked to the oligosaccharides of lutropin isolated from bovine and human pituitaries. To determine whether lutropin could be metabolically labeled with sulfate, isolated bovine and rat pituitaries were incubated with [35S]sulfate. In both species, two major labeled products were immunoprecipitated with antisera specific to lutropin subunits. Incorporation into the subunits occurred posttranslationally since it was not blocked by cycloheximide, which did, however, block the incorporation of radiolabeled methionine. Metabolic labeling with [35S]sulfate provides a valuable approach for examining the biosynthetic processing of lutropin and the physiological role of sulfate in this hormone.