Bone fracture, soft-tissue trauma and hemorrhagic shock are frequent complications in trauma patients, and these patients are known to be immunocompromised. Nonetheless, it is difficult to differentiate the effect of soft-tissue trauma plus hemorrhage from that of bone fracture and hemorrhage on host immune function in the clinical setting. To determine this experimentally, closed bone fracture (right lower leg) and/or soft-tissue trauma (2.5 cm midline laparotomy) were induced prior to hemorrhagic shock (mean arterial BP of 35 ± 5 mm Hg for 90 min) in male C3H/HeN mice. All animals were killed at 72 h after initiation of the experiment and the spleens were collected aseptically. More significant depression of splenocyte IL-2 and IL-3 release occurred with the combined insult than after bony injury or tissue trauma alone with hemorrhage. The present study suggests that different traumatic insults, i.e. bone fracture as well as soft-tissue trauma in conjunction with hemorrhagic shock, produce comparable depression of host immune function. Moreover, combination of closed bone fracture and soft-tissue trauma prior to hemorrhagic shock leads to even more compromised immunity. This indicates that different mechanisms of immune depression may be involved following soft-tissue trauma or bony injury coupled with hemorrhage. The markedly depressed immune function following bony injury, soft-tissue trauma and hemorrhagic shock may contribute to the increased susceptibility of severely injured patients to sepsis and the ensuing multiple organ failure in the clinical situation.