Blood vessel expansion and reduction in the corpus luteum (CL) is regulated by the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) system and linked to the maintenance of the CL. The VEGF system has both angiogenic and antiangiogenic ligands and receptors. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship between the mRNA expression of angiogenic and antiangiogenic members of the VEGF system in the CL, throughout the luteal phase of the oestrous cycle in cows. The CL of 18 cows were collected by transvaginal surgery on days 4, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 of the oestrous cycle and the mRNA expression of VEGF system components was evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR. The mRNA expression of VEGF ligands and receptors increased (P<0.05) from the early- and mid-luteal phase (days 4 to 12) reaching its maximum expression on day 15 of the cycle. We found no expression of VEGF164b throughout the cycle. Expression of sVEGFR1 did not change during the oestrous cycle and exceeded that of the VEGFR1 by 100 times. Nonetheless, as VEGFR1 increased, the relationship between the soluble and membrane receptor decreased (P<0.01). In contrast, the expression of VEGFR2 was higher than that of its soluble isoform for all days studied, however, the ratio between the membrane-bound and its soluble counterpart decreased continuously throughout the cycle (P<0.01). Our results show that the expression levels for VEGF ligands, receptors and their antagonistic counterparts are adjusted during CL development and regression, to upregulate angiogenesis early in the oestrous cycle and restrict it at the time of luteolysis.