This study compared the nature and magnitude of the contractile response produced in vitro by selective NK1, NK2 and NK3 tachykinin receptor agonists in circularly and longitudinally oriented strips of myometrium from ovariectomised and ovariectomised oestrogen-treated rats. The nature of the responses produced upon stimulation of the tachykinin receptors varied between the different myometrial preparations and the hormonal environment from which the tissue was taken. Variations included: (i) sustained contraction until washout of agonist; (ii) biphasic contraction until washout of agonist; and (iii) monophasic contraction. The major differences in magnitude of contractions were seen in preparations from oestrogen-treated animals in which responses to stimulation of all tachykinin receptors were reduced in comparison to preparations from non-oestrogen treated animals. Furthermore, the responses in circularly oriented myometrium preparations from oestrogen-treated animals were all markedly reduced compared to responses in longitudinally oriented myometrium preparations. These results suggest that the tachykinin receptors in longitudinally and circularly oriented myometrial layers are differentially regulated, especially in tissue isolated from an oestrogen-dominated environment.