1. Both the post-partum involution of the rat uterus and the rapid breakdown of collagen that accompanies it are extensively inhibited by oestrogenic hormones. In the normal rat, 85% of the uterine collagen is degraded within 4 days after parturition; in rats treated with 100μg. of 17β-oestradiol/day, only 35% of uterine collagen is broken down in the same period. 2. Similar effects are produced by diethylstilboestrol if the dose is increased tenfold. 3. Collagen breakdown is inhibited to a greater extent than is the loss of wet weight by oestradiol but not by diethylstilboestrol. 4. The oestrogens appear to act by blocking the breakdown of collagen. There is a greatly decreased concentration of free hydroxyproline in the uterus of treated animals. 5. Acid hydrolase concentrations (β-glucuronidase, β-galactosidase, cathepsin D and acid phosphatase) in the uterus are decreased by oestrogen treatment compared with controls, but the total amounts of these enzymes in the uterus are somewhat elevated. Oestrogens do not appear to inhibit collagen breakdown by altering the concentration and total amount of acid hydrolases.

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