Developing rat ova have been studied with the electron microscope. Special attention was paid to relations of ova to the granulosa cells, the developmental stages of ovarian follicles, and the cytology of the unfertilized tubal ova. The relationship of the oocyte to the surrounding granulosa cells was found to change from one of a simple apposition of the plasma membranes to a complex interdigitation of microvilli from the ovular surface and processes from the granulosa cells extending into the matrix of the zona pellucida. This complex interrelation is maintained until the formation of the first polar body is initiated. At this time no microvilli are found and the oolemma presents a gently undulating outline. Also at this time, a perivitelline space forms and the granulosa cell processes retract. In the unfertilized tubal ova no microvilli are present and the processes of the follicular cells are completely withdrawn.
The cytoplasmic elements of the oocyte in various stages of development are described in some detail. Of particular interest is the change noted in position and degree of aggregation of the Golgi complex as maturation proceeds. The distribution and structural characteristics of the mitochondria, ergastoplasm, dense particles, and multivesicular bodies are described.