We investigated the effects of ovarectomy and the steroid hormones estrogen and testosterone on the in vivo expression of heavy (MHC) and light (MLC) chains of myosin in the heart, uterus, and aorta of rats. In the heart, ovarectomy decreased alpha-MHC expression, while both steroid hormones normalized it. Differential steroid hormone effects could be observed on myosin subunit expression of smooth muscle. Testosterone but not estrogen normalized the ovarectomy-induced decreased expression of SM1 and strongly increased the expression of 5'-inserted MHC in the uterus. Estrogen but not testosterone normalized the ovarectomy-induced diminished MLC17a expression. In contrast to the uterus, no steroid hormone effects on myosin subunit expression could be observed in the aorta.