Follicles were collected from cows and processed for electron microscopy and for immunofluorescent staining at the light microscope level. Key regulatory steroidogenic enzymes cholesterol side-chain-cleavage cytochrome P-450 (P-450scc) and 17 alpha-hydroxylase cytochrome P-450 (P-45017 alpha) were immunolocalized using specific IgG fractions raised against these enzymes. In larger follicles in which the theca interna had differentiated, positive staining for cytochromes P-450scc and P-450(17) alpha was observed in the cells of the theca interna. Electron microscopic examination showed that these cells were rich in endoplasmic reticulum, mainly rough, and had moderate numbers of mitochondria with tubular and lamellar cristae. Positive staining was also present in the theca of follicles undergoing atresia. Positive staining for cytochrome P-450(17) alpha was not observed in the membrana granulosa but cytochrome P-450scc was present in the membrana granulosa in some follicles, particularly in the larger antral follicles. By contrast, positive staining for both enzymes was not observed in stroma, surface epithelium or in small preantral follicles in which the theca interna had not differentiated. These results indicate good agreement between the type(s) of steroidogenic enzyme(s) present in tissues and the type(s) of steroid hormone(s) produced. It is concluded that regulation of steroid hormone production involves, at least in part, regulation of the levels of steroidogenic enzymes.