Recent studies suggest that the progesterone receptor isoforms (PR-A and PR-B) activate genes differentially and that PR-A may act as a repressor of PR-B function. Hence, the absolute and relative expression of the two isoforms will determine the response to progesterone. We have measured their relative expression in the uterus of cycling women who underwent endometrial biopsy. PR isoforms were identified on blots of SDS-PAGE gels by reaction with the AB-52 antibody after immunoprecipitation from endometrial extract. Both isoforms were highest in the peri-ovulatory phase, but levels of PR-A were always higher than those of PR-B. The ratio of PR-A to PR-B changed during the menstrual cycle. Between days 2 and 8, PR-B is almost undetectable and the A:B ratio is >10:1. From days 9 to 13, the ratio is about 5:1, and it is about 2:1 between days 14 and 16. Thereafter, PR-B dwindles rapidly and is virtually undetectable at the end of the cycle. In various hypoestrogenic environments, PR-B expression was reduced. However, exogenous estrogens in the follicular phase in the form of oral contraceptives, enhanced PR-B expression. These data support the possibility that progesterone acts through cycle-specific PR isoforms.