Although androstenediol (adiol or 5-androstene-3β,17β-diol), a metabolite of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), has protective effects following trauma-hemorrhage (T-H), it remains unknown whether administration of adiol has any salutary effects on the inflammatory response and outcome following a combined insult of T-H and sepsis. Male rats underwent T-H shock [mean arterial pressure (MAP) 40 mmHg for 90 min] followed by resuscitation. Adiol (1 mg/kg body wt) or vehicle was administered at the end of resuscitation. Sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) at 20 h after T-H or sham operation. Five hours after CLP, plasma and tissue samples were analyzed for cytokines (IL-6 and IL-10), MPO, neutrophil chemotactic factor (CINC-3), and liver injury (alanine aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase). In another group of rats, the gangrenous cecum was removed at 10 h after CLP, the cavity was irrigated with warm saline and closed in layers, and mortality was recorded over 10 days. T-H followed by CLP produced a significant elevation in plasma IL-6 and IL-10 levels, enhanced neutrophil cell activation, and resulted in liver injury. Adiol administration prevented the increase in cytokine production, neutrophil cell activation, and attenuated liver injury. Moreover, rats subjected to the combined insult, receiving vehicle or adiol, had a 50% and 6% mortality, respectively. Since adiol administration suppresses proinflammatory cytokines, reduces liver damage, and decreases mortality after the combined insult of T-H and sepsis, this agent appears to be a novel adjunct to fluid resuscitation for decreasing T-H-induced septic complications and mortality. Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society.