Interactions between estrogen and growth factor signaling pathways at the level of gene expression play important roles in the function of reproductive tissues. For example, estrogen regulates transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) in the uterus during the proliferative phase of the mammalian reproductive cycle. Bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP-7), a member of the TGFβ superfamily, is also involved in the development and function of reproductive tissues. However, relatively few studies have addressed the expression of BMP-7 in reproductive tissues, and the role of BMP-7 remains unclear. As part of an ongoing effort to understand how estrogen represses gene expression and to study its interactions with other signaling pathways, chick BMP-7 (cBMP-7) was cloned, cBMP-7 mRNA levels are repressed threefold within 8 h following estrogen treatment in the chick oviduct, an extremely estrogen-responsive reproductive tissue. This regulation occurs at the transcriptional level. Estrogen has a protective role in many tissues, and withdrawal from estrogen often leads to tissue regression; however, the mechanisms mediating regression of the oviduct remain unknown. Terminal transferase-mediated end-labeling and DNA laddering assays demonstrated that regression of the oviduct during estrogen withdrawal involves apoptosis, which is a novel observation, cBMP-7 mRNA levels during estrogen withdrawal increase concurrently with the apoptotic index of the oviduct. Furthermore, addition of purified BMP-7 induces apoptosis in primary oviduct cells. This report demonstrates that the function of BMP-7 in the oviduct involves the induction of apoptosis and that estrogen plays an important role in opposing this function.