This study aims to investigate the effects of jacalin and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) on activation and survival of goat primordial follicles, as well as on gene expression in cultured ovarian tissue. Ovarian fragments were cultured for 6 days in minimum essential medium (MEM) supplemented with jacalin (10, 25, 50 or 100 μg/ml – Experiment 1) or in MEM supplemented with jacalin (50 μg/ml), FSH (50 ng/ml) or both (Experiment 2). Non-cultured and cultured tissues were processed for histological and ultrastructural analysis. Cultured tissues from Experiment 2 were also stored to evaluate the expression of BMP-15, KL (Kit ligand), c-kit, GDF-9 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results of Experiment 1 showed that, compared with tissue that was cultured in control medium, the presence of 50 μg/ml of jacalin increased both the percentages of developing follicles and viability. In Experiment 2, after 6 days, higher percentages of normal follicles were observed in tissue cultured in presence of FSH, jacalin or both, but no synergistic interaction between FSH and jacalin was observed. These substances had no significant effect on the levels of mRNA for BMP-15 and KL, but FSH increased significantly the levels of mRNA for PCNA and c-kit. On the other hand, jacalin reduced the levels of mRNA for GDF-9. In conclusion, jacalin and FSH are able to improve primordial follicle activation and survival after 6 days of culture. Furthermore, presence of FSH increases the expression of mRNA for PCNA and c-kit, but jacalin resulted in lower GDF-9 mRNA expression.