The physiological distribution of mast cells (MCs) in the reproductive tract and ovary of 12 Angora goats was determined using light microscopic histochemical techniques. Uterus (corpus uteri and cornu uteri), uterine cervix, uterine tubes (isthmus and ampulla) and ovary samples were obtained by laparatomy from groups of animals during metoestrus, dioestrus and proestrus (days 5, 10 and 16 of the oestrous cycle). Tissues were fixed in Mota's fixative (basic lead acetate) for 48 h and embedded in paraffin. Six-micrometre-thick sections were stained with toluidine blue in 1% aqueous solution at pH 1.0 for 5 min and alcian blue-Safranin at pH 1.0 for 30 min. MCs were generally associated with blood vessels in all reproductive organs. In the uterus, they were concentrated mainly in the close of the uterine gland and deep stroma in the endometrium. Higher MC numbers were observed by toluidine blue staining in the uterus, uterine cervix and uterine tubes on days 10 (corpus uterine: 4.7 +/- 3.8 and cornu uterine: 4.9 +/- 3.5) and 16 (corpus uterine: 5.9 +/- 4.5 and cornu uterine: 5.4 +/- 2.4) of the oestrous cycle compared with day 5 (p < 0.05). Mast cells were not observed in the follicles, the corpus luteum and the underside of the surface epithelium of the ovarian cortex, but were observed in the interstitial cortical stroma and the ovarian medulla. In the ovary, MC numbers were significantly higher on day 16 of the oestrous cycle (cortex: 3.4 +/- 2.4 and medulla: 5.7 +/- 4.5, p < 0.05). Safranin-positive connective tissue MCs were not observed in the uterine tube on any occasion. These results indicate oestrous cycle-related changes in the number and location of MCs in goat reproductive organs.