Improving ewe nutrition even for short periods will increase ovulation rate. The increased nutrients must in some way affect the number of follicles that develop to the pre-ovulatory stage. One possible mechanism is that a nutrient or a metabolic hormone that responds to nutrition might act directly on the ovary to influence follicle development and/or follicle selection. In the study described here, insulin and glucose, alone or together, were infused directly into the ovarian artery of ewes with an autotransplanted ovary, for 13.5 h on day 11 of the oestrous cycle. The pattern of androstenedione and oestradiol secretion in response to a GnRH-stimulated LH pulse was measured 2.5 h before and 12.5 h and 24.5 h after the start of the infusion. Glucose or insulin infused alone had no effect on the secretion of androstenedione and oestradiol. However, when infused together, they decreased significantly the secretion of androstenedione and, to a lesser extent, oestradiol. We suggest that the sudden availability of additional glucose and insulin increases insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by the follicle. This leads to an inhibition of LH-stimulated steroidogenesis by the ovarian follicle which occurs in the absence of any detectable changes in circulating plasma concentrations of FSH. These results show that insulin and glucose act together to influence ovarian function directly and suggest that the effects of short-term nutrition on ovulation rate may be mediated by a direct ovarian action of insulin and glucose.