Both p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38) activation and protein kinase B (Akt) activation have been reported to regulate glucose transport during myocardial I/R. An increase in cardiac glycogen levels prevents myocardial injury in the ischemic or stressed heart. Although studies have shown that 17β-estradiol (E2)-mediated improvement in cardiac function after trauma-hemorrhage is via p38 activation, it remains unknown whether p38/Akt plays any role in regulation of cardiac glycogen levels under these conditions. To study this, male rats underwent trauma-hemorrhage (mean blood pressure, x40 mmHg for 90 min) followed by fluid resuscitation. At the onset of resuscitation, rats (n = 6 per group) were treated with vehicle, E2 (1 mg/kg body weight), the p38 inhibitor SB203580 (2 mg/kg body weight), or E2 and SB203580. Various parameters were measured at 2 h after resuscitation. One-way ANOVA and Tukey test were used for statistical analysis, and differences were considered significant at P < 0.05. The depressed cardiac function after trauma-hemorrhage was restored by E2 treatment (P < 0.05). Administration of E2 after trauma-hemorrhage also normalized the p38/Akt phosphorylation, which was associated with restoration of cardiac glycogen, glycogen synthase kinase 3β activation, glucose transporter 4 translocation, and increased hexokinase II levels (all parameters, P < 0.05). Inhibition of the p38 pathway abolished the E2-induced restoration in above parameters after trauma-hemorrhage. These results suggest that p38-dependent normalization of cardiac Akt phosphorylation and glycogen levels plays an important role in E2-mediated restoration of cardiac function after trauma-hemorrhage. Copyright © 2008 by the Shock Society.