Abstract In vitro germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) in Cyprinus carpio oocytes was induced by recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-I and -II (IGF-I and IGF-II) and bovine insulin (b-insulin). Treatment of postvitellogenic ovarian follicles with IGF-I and b-insulin increased concentration of maturation-inducing hormone (MIH), 17α,20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnane-3-one (DHP) in the medium. IGF-I and IGF-II both and b-insulin induced GVBD in denuded oocytes. IGF-I analogue R3 IGF-I was more potent than IGF-I in inducing GVBD of postvitellogenic follicles suggesting that ovarian IGF binding proteins may inhibit IGF-I action. Vitellogenic follicles, which were immature for oocytes to complete GVBD in response to DHP or HCG, underwent GVBD by IGF-I, not by b-insulin. IGF-I was also able to stimulate DHP production in such follicles. Addition of DHP and HCG to the culture of vitellogenic follicles containing IGF-I or b-insulin did neither potentiate the stimulation of GVBD induced by IGF-I nor initiate the same in response to b-insulin. Incubation of postvitellogenic follicles with trilostane (3β-HSD inhibitor) had no inhibitory effects on IGF-I- and b-insulin-induced GVBD but attenuated the same under HCG stimulation. Trilostane, however, strongly inhibited DHP production induced by all these effectors. Induction of GVBD by IGF-I and b-insulin was not altered in the presence of actinomycin D. However, it significantly blocked the HCG-induced GVBD. Cycloheximide was shown to inhibit the induction of GVBD and DHP production by IGF-I, b-insulin and HCG. Both actinomycin D and cycloheximide were found to inhibit DHP production stimulated by all the three effectors. Collectively, these observations indicate that IGF-I and b-insulin can induce GVBD via MIH- and transcription-independent pathway. Incubation of the follicles with gap junction uncouplers, 1-heptanol or 1-octanol, had no effect on IGF-I- and b-insulin-induced GVBD, but attenuated the same induced by HCG. These uncouplers, however, inhibited DHP production induced by IGF-I, b-insulin and HCG. This result suggests that both IGF-I and b-insulin can induce oocyte maturation without coupled gap junction between oocytes and granulosa cells, while homologous gap junctions are required for DHP production. Inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3 kinase), wortmannin and LY294002 inhibited GVBD by IGF-I and b-insulin. These two inhibitors also attenuated HCG-induced GVBD. These data suggest that PI-3 kinase activity is required for IGF-I, b-insulin and HCG induction of GVBD in C. carpio.