Although trauma-hemorrhage (T-H) induces suppressed splenic dendritic cell (DC) maturation and antigen presentation capacity, it remains unclear whether IL-15 modulates splenic DC functions. The aim of this study therefore was to investigate the effect of IL-15 on splenic DC functions after T-H. Male C3H/HeN mice (6-8 wk old) were randomly assigned to T-H or sham operation. T-H was induced by midline laparotomy and ∼90 min of hemorrhagic shock (blood pressure 35 mmHg), followed by fluid resuscitation (4x the shed blood volume in the form of Ringer lactate). Two hours later, mice were killed, splenic DCs were isolated, and the effects of exogenous IL-15 on their costimulatory factors, major histocompatibility class II expression, ability to produce cytokines, and antigen presentation were measured. The results indicate that IL-15 production capacity of splenic DCs was reduced following T-H. Ex vivo exposure to IL-15 attenuated the suppressed production of TNF-α, IL-6, and IFN-γ from splenic DCs following T-H. In addition, expression of surface antigen studies demonstrate that exogenous IL-15 attenuated T-H-induced downregulation of the activation of DC. The suppressed splenic DC antigen presentation function following T-H was also attenuated by IL-15 treatment. Moreover, IL-15 enhanced IL-12-induced IFN-γ production and antigen presentation by splenic DCs. These data suggest that ex vivo treatment with IL-15 following T-H provides beneficial effects on splenic DCs. The depression in IL-15 production by splenic DCs could contribute to the host's enhanced susceptibility to infections following T-H. Copyright © 2009 the American Physiological Society.