The aim of the present study was to measure the level of cyclic GMP (cGMP) compared with the level of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in rat oocytes during resumption of meiosis I (oocyte maturation) and to microinject these cyclic nucleotides into the oocyte to study their effects on oocyte maturation. Immature oocytes were obtained from prepubertal rats primed with pregnant mare's serum gonadotropin. OOcytes were isolated adn short-term cultured under conditions enabling spontaneous maturation. The levels of cGMP and cAMP decreased in the oocyte during spontaneous maturation (from 0.41 to 0.25 and from 0.64 to 0.42 fmol per oocyte respectively). The decrease was observed during the first hour of culture, and no further decline was seen after 2 h. Microinjection of cGMP or cAMP into isolated immature oocytes delayed the spontaneous maturation, cGMP being slightly more effective than cAMP, whereas 2-deoxy-cAMP (which does not stimulate protein kinase A) did not. These results demonstrate for the first time that the level of cGMP decreases in the oocyte parallel to spontaneous meiosis, as already shown for cAMP. This suggests that cGMP, as well as cAMP, may be of importance for regulating this process. This assumption is further supported by data demonstrating a delay in the maturation of oocytes injected with cGMP.