Since cardiac function is depressed in males but not in proestrus (PE) females following trauma-hemorrhage (T-H), we examined whether different estrus cycles influence cardiac function in female rats under those conditions. We hypothesized that females in the PE cycle only will have normal cardiac function following T-H and resuscitation. Sham operation or T-H was performed in five groups of rats (250-275 g) including PE, estrus (E), metestrus (ME), diestrus (DE), and ovariectomized (OVX) females (n = 6-7 per group). Cardiac function was determined 2 h after T-H, following which cardiomyocytes were isolated and nuclei extracted. Cardiomyocyte IL-6 and NF-κB expressions were measured using Western blotting. Moreover, plasma IL-6, estradiol, and progesterone levels were measured using ELISA or EIA kits. Results (1-way ANOVA) indicated that following T-H, 1) cardiac function was depressed in DE, E, ME, and OVX groups but maintained in the PE group; 2) the PE group had the highest plasma estrogen level; 3) plasma IL-6 levels increased significantly in DE, E, ME, and OVX groups, but the increase was attenuated in the PE group; 4) cardiomyocyte IL-6 protein level increased significantly in DE, E, ME and OVX groups after TH, but the increase was attenuated in the PE group; and 5) cardiomyocyte NF-κB expression increased significantly but was attenuated in the PE group. These data collectively suggest that the estrus cycle plays an important role in cardiac function following TH. The salutary effect seen in PE following TH is likely due to a decrease in NF-κB-dependent cardiac IL-6 pathway. Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society.