BACKGROUND: Current ovarian tissue cryopreservation protocols have yet to be assessed in terms of somatic-germ cell interaction. Accordingly, post-thaw analysis of antral follicles can yield relevant data on the disruption of the granulosa-oocyte interface. METHODS: We compared fresh mouse ovarian tissue with tissues that had been either cryopreserved using dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) or glycerol as cryoprotectants, or exposed to such cryoprotectants without freezing. The assessed parameters were: number of immature oocytes retrieved per ovary, allocation of the oocytes to different classes regarding antral follicle size and oocyte-granulosa cell adhesion, and the relative density of transzonal processes containing filamentous actin (TZPs-Act). RESULTS: Although cryopreservation reduces the average number of oocytes retrieved per ovary, it increases the relative distribution of granulosa-free oocytes while decreasing that of granulosa-enclosed ones. Additionally, a post-thaw decrease in TZPs-Act density was recorded. This decrease was also observed after cryoprotectant exposure without freezing, although at a lower level. For the assessed parameters, DMSO was more effective than glycerol as a cryoprotectant. CONCLUSIONS: In situ cryopreservation of granulosa-oocyte complexes with current protocols disrupts the granulosa-oocyte interface. The different patterns of granulosa cell adhesion and interaction in oocytes derived from different-sized antral follicles further suggests that the granulosa-oocyte interface may be developmentally regulated.