Capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-noneadamide) is a pungent ingredient in red peppers from the Capsicum family. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is expressed in granulosa cells and has an important role in ovarian development. However, there are no data about the IGF-I expression in ovarian granulosa cells after capsaicin treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of IGF-I and its receptor (insulin-like growth factor-I receptor [IGF-IR]) in primary rat ovarian granulosa cells after low and high doses of capsaicin treatment. For this, granulosa cells were isolated and cultured from ovaries of 30-day-old female Sprague-Dawley rats. Granulosa cell plates were divided into four groups as cell control (C), vehicle control (V), and 50 mu M and 150 mu M capsaicin groups. In experimental groups, granulosa cells were exposed to capsaicin for 24 hours and immunocytochemistry was performed afterwards using anti-IGF-I and anti-IGF-IR antibodies. Both IGF-I and IGF-IR expressions were found to be significantly increased in parallel to the capsaicin doses. Elevated levels of IGF-I may be a risk factor for ovarian development. Because of the crucial role of IGF-I in ovary development, capsaicin treatment can be effective on follicular development and/or disorders characterized by high IGF-I levels.