Although 17β-estradiol (E2) administration after trauma-hemorrhage attenuates lung injury in male rodents, it is not known whether the salutary effects are mediated via estrogen receptor (ER)-α or ER-β. We hypothesized that the salutary effects of E2 lung are mediated via ER-β. Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent trauma-hemorrhage (mean blood pressure 40 mmHg for 90 min, then resuscitation). E2 (50 μg/kg), ER-α agonist propyl pyrazole triol (PPT; 5 μg/kg), ER-β agonist diarylpropiolnitrile (DPN; 5 μg/kg), or vehicle (10% DMSO) was injected subcutaneously during resuscitation. At 24 h after trauma-hemorrhage or sham operation, bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) was collected for protein concentration, LDH activity, and nitrate/nitrite and IL-6 levels. Moreover, lung tissue was used for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA/protein expression, nitrate/nitrite and IL-6 levels, and wet/dry weight ratio (n = 6 rats/group). One-way ANOVA and Tukey's test were used for statistical analysis. The results indicated that E2 downregulated lung iNOS expression after trauma-hemorrhage. Protein concentration, LDH activity, and nitrate/nitrite and IL-6 levels in BALF and nitrate/nitrite and IL-6 levels in the lung increased significantly after trauma-hemorrhage; however, administration of DPN but not PPT significantly improved all parameters. Moreover, DPN treatment attenuated trauma-hemorrhage- mediated increase in iNOS mRNA/protein expression in the lung. In contrast, no significant change in the above parameters was observed with PPT. Thus the salutary effects of E2 on attenuation of lung injury are mediated via ER-β, and ER-β-induced downregulation of iNOS likely plays a significant role in the DPN-mediated lung protection after trauma-hemorrhage. Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society.