Intracellular concentrations of cyclic AMP (cAMP) were measured in pig oocytes maturing in vivo or in vitro. Maturation in vivo was induced with 500 iu hCG administered to gilts treated with pregnant mares' serum gonadotrophin (PMSG). Although PMSG did not affect cAMP concentrations (basal values, 1.69 ± 0.28 fmol per oocyte), hCG induced a transient rise (8.86 ± 1.15 fmol per oocyte 12 h after hCG injection). Similarly, the cAMP concentration rose in oocytes maturing in vitro if the oocytes (surrounded or not by cumulus cells) were co-cultured with the follicle wall in the presence of LH. The same increase in cAMP was obtained when denuded oocytes were co-cultured with mural granulosa cells. Theca cells exhibited only a moderate activity, while cumulus cells were totally ineffective. Granulosa cells exposed to LH lost their stimulating influence after 24 h of culture. In the presence of FSH, cAMP production by the oocyte was unaffected by any type of follicle cell. The role of cAMP in the control of oocyte maturation was investigated using dibutyryl cAMP. The presence of dibutyryl cAMP prevented the resumption of meiosis in a dose-dependent manner, but when it was present during the first 12 h of culture only, meiotic progression was accelerated (0 versus 47% of oocytes had germinal vesicles in groups treated with dibutyryl cAMP and control groups, respectively, after 24 h of culture). The results demonstrate that: (i) cAMP concentrations increase transiently in oocytes before the resumption of meiosis; (ii) increased concentrations of cAMP depend on the stimulation of oocyte adenylyl cyclase, possibly by a soluble factor produced by follicle cells exposed to LH; (iii) the increase in cAMP is probably confined to the first 10–20 h of maturation owing to the progressive reduction of the stimulating influence of LH-treated somatic cells; and (iv) a high concentration of cAMP throughout maturation maintains meiotic arrest and a transient increase may facilitate meiosis.