Granulosa-cumulus and cumulus-corona expansion as well as aromatase localization within ovarian follicles were monitored during the preovulatory period in superovulated cattle that were blood sampled every 2'nd h for LH analyses. Granulosa-cumulus as well as cumulus-corona expansion were studied by means of transmission electron microscopy and computerized image analysis. Localization of aromatase, an enzyme involved in estrogen synthesis, was determined immunocytochemically using anti-human placental aromatase cytochrome P-450 antisera. Nuclear oocyte maturation was determined by aceto:orcein staining. Significant cell dissociation within the granulosa-cumulus stalk occurred before the breakdown of the germinal vesicle, i.e. the oocyte nucleus, during the period up to 5-7 h after the LH peak, i.e. the highest LH concentration during the surge Significant increase in intercellular spacing between the cumulus-corona cells occurred at 13-15 and 19-21 h after the LH peak. Before the LH peak all layers of granulosa cells were immunocytochemically stained for aromatase. At 5-7 h after the LH peak, however, only the granulosa cell layers located near the basal lamina were stained, and at all later intervals staining was absent. The granulosa cells of primary and secondary follicles, the interstitial gland cells, the theca interna cells and the oocytes in all follicles were immunocytochemically unstained.