This study aimed to investigate the effects of IL1β and TNFα on growth and maturation of oocytes from small follicles (1–3 mm) during in vitro culture. To this end, cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) with diameters of ~110 µm were cultured in TCM-199 medium alone or supplemented with IL1β (10 ng/ml), TNFα (10 ng/ml) or both for 48 h. The oocytes were measured at the beginning and at the end of the culture period. COCs were cultured for 20 h in pre-maturation medium and then half of the COCs of each group was destined for in vitro maturation and the remaining COCs were used to evaluate meiotic progression, mitochondrial distribution and the expression of mRNAs for GDF-9, c-Mos, Cyclin-B1 and H1foo. The results showed that COCs cultured with TNFα alone or together with IL1β had higher diameters than those cultured in control medium alone or supplemented with IL1β. Control oocytes isolated from large antral follicles (>5 mm) had heterogeneous distribution of mitochondria. Oocytes isolated from small antral follicles, that had been grown in vitro in TCM-199 alone or supplemented with TNFα had similar heterogeneous mitochondrial distribution before in vitro maturation (IVM). After IVM, mitochondria were heterogeneously distribution when cultured in TCM-199. However, when cultured with TNFα and/or IL1β, mitochondria were homogeneously distributed. Presence of TNFα and/or IL1β in TCM-199 culture medium did not influence the expression of mRNAs for GDF-9, c-Mos, Cyclin-B1 and H1foo. In conclusion, TNFα and a mixture of TNFα and IL1β both stimulated the growth of bovine oocytes during their in vitro culture, but do not influence gene expression in grown oocytes.