BACKGROUND Perfusion of the isolated uterus has been shown to be a feasible experimental system for studies of the human endometrium and myometrium. Utilizing our established experimental perfusion model we perfused 20 uteri for 27 h and investigated the contractile reactivity of the myometrium in response to 17beta-estradiol (E2) and oxytocin (OT). METHODS Uteri of group A (n = 4) were stimulated with OT; group B (n = 4) was treated continuously with E2; group C (n = 4) received both E2 and OT for 27 h; group D (n = 4) was perfused for 27 h with E2 with the addition of OT for the last 3 h of the experiment; group E (n = 4) as control group remained without any treatment. The pressure and duration of uterine contractions were recorded during the entire perfusion period using intramural and endoluminal pressure catheters. RESULTS Compared to the other treatment groups and controls, the most effective myometrial activity was achieved in group D during the OT stimulation period. No relevant myometrial activity was detected in the control group. CONCLUSIONS Continuous E2 treatment, with the addition of OT for the last 3 h of the 27 h perfusion period, led to the most pronounced uterotonic effects in the presented experimental condition.