Summary. Vessels with histological features characteristic of arterio–venous anastomoses were found in the stroma but not in CL. In 5 conscious ewes at the mid-luteal stage of the oestrous cycle, ovarian blood flow was significantly greater (P < 0·025) with microspheres of 50 than of 15 μm diameter in ovaries without CL (0·23 ± 0·04 (s.e.m.) and 0·11 ± 0·02 ml/min, respectively), but not in ovaries with CL (4·42 ± 0·86 and 3·73 ± 0·70 ml/min, respectively). In 5 similar but anaesthetized ewes, the portion of each ovarian artery within the ovarian vascular pedicle was bypassed with re-entrant catheters through which microspheres were perfused. A greater proportion (P < 0·01) of 50 than of 15 μm microspheres was retained in ovaries with (90 and 79%) or without (82 and 45%) a CL.
It is concluded that functional arterio–venous anastomoses are present in sheep ovaries.