Protein kinase B (Akt) is known to be involved in proinflammatory and chemotactic events in response to injury. Akt activation also leads to the induction of heme oxygenase (HO)-1. Up-regulation of HO-1 mediates potent, anti-inflammatory effects and attenuates organ injury. Although studies have shown that 17β-estradiol (E2) prevents organ damage following trauma-hemorrhage, it remains unknown whether Akt/HO-1 plays any role in E2-mediated attenuation of hepatic injury following trauma-hemorrhage. To study this, male rats underwent trauma-hemorrhage (mean blood pressure, ∼40 mmHg for 90 min), followed by fluid resuscitation. At the onset of resuscitation, rats were treated with vehicle, E2 (1 mg/kg body weight), E2 plus the PI-3K inhibitor (Wortmannin), or the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist (ICI 182,780). At 2 h after sham operation or trauma-hemorrhage, plasma α-GST and hepatic tissue myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, IL-6, TNF-α, ICAM-1, cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1, and MIP-2 levels were measured. Hepatic Akt and HO-1 protein levels were also determined. Trauma-hemorrhage increased hepatic injury markers (α-GST and MPO activity), cytokines, ICAM-1, and chemokine levels. These parameters were markedly improved in the E2-treated rats following trauma-hemorrhage. E2 treatment also increased hepatic Akt activation and HO-1 expression compared with vehicle-treated, trauma-hemorrhage rats, which were abolished by coadministration of Wortmannin or ICI 182,780. These results suggest that the salutary effects of E2 on hepatic injury following trauma-hemorrhage are in part mediated via an ER-related, Akt-dependent up-regulation of HO-1. © Society for Leukocyte Biology.