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The mammalian ovary generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) on an extraordinary scale; however, the role of ROS during meiotic cell cycle progression in follicular oocytes remains poorly understood. The present study was aimed to determine whether a moderate increase of ROS level in the ovary is beneficial for meiotic resumption from diplotene arrest in follicular oocytes.Cumulus oocyte complexes were collected from the ovaries of female rats that had been treated with either: (i) pregnant mare's serum gonadotrophin; or (ii) pregnant mare's serum gonadotrophin + human chorionic gonadotrophin. We analyzed morphological changes, ROS and hydrogen peroxide levels, catalase activity, 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate and 3′,5′-cyclic guanosine monophosphate levels, Thr14/Tyr15, Th-161, total cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1) and cyclin B1 levels.Human chorionic gonadotrophin treatment induced meiotic resumption from diplotene arrest and extrusion of first polar body in cumulus oocyte complexes collected from ovaries and cultured for 3 h in vitro. Meiotic resumption from diplotene arrest was associated with increased ROS and hydrogen peroxide levels but decreased 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate as well as 3′,5′-cyclic guanosine monophosphate levels. The reduced cyclic nucleotide levels were associated with decreased Thr161 phosphorylated Cdk1 and cyclin B1 level but increased Thr14/Tyr15 phosphorylated Cdk1 level leading to maturation promoting factor destabilization. Destabilized maturation-promoting factor triggered meiotic resumption from diplotene arrest and progression to metaphase-I as well as metaphase-II stage in follicular oocytes.Our findings suggest that a moderate increase of ROS in the ovary is beneficial for meiotic resumption from diplotene arrest and extrusion of first polar body in follicular oocytes.