Ovarian cortical fragments from five adult ewes were in vitro cultured for 1, 3 or 5 days in the presence of minimum essential medium either supplemented or not by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (100 ng/ml) or indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) (10, 20, 40 or 100 ng/ml), alone or in combination. After in vitro culture, ovarian fragments were submitted to follicular isolation and viability test was performed using trypan blue. Addition of IAA (10 ng/ml) to a free-FSH medium resulted in the highest percentages of viable follicles, but was progressively deleterious in higher concentrations (20, 40 and 100 ng/ml) if in absence of FSH. Follicular development was observed only when FSH was added to an IAA-free medium. In conclusion, IAA at a concentration of 10 ng/ml increases follicular survival in vitro. However, at high concentrations (20, 40 or 100 ng/ml), this auxin may be deleterious to preantral follicles, the addition of FSH to the medium being necessary.