Although previous studies have shown that flutamide improves cardiovascular function after trauma-hemorrhage, the mechanisms responsible for the salutary effect remain unknown. We hypothesized that flutamide mediates its beneficial effects via an estrogen-dependent pathway through upregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1 (PGC-1). PGC-1, a key regulator of cardiac mitochondrial ATP production, induces mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-encoded genes such as cytochrome-c oxidase (COX) subunit I, II, and III (COX I, COX II, and COX III), which regulates mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. To test this hypothesis, male rats underwent trauma-hemorrhage (mean arterial pressure of 35-40 mmHg for ∼90 min) followed by resuscitation. At the onset of resuscitation, rats received vehicle, flutamide (25 mg/kg body wt), flutamide in combination with estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI-182,780 (3 mg/kg body wt), or ICI-182,780 alone. Flutamide administration after trauma-hemorrhage restored the depressed cardiac function and increased cardiac testosterone, estrogen levels, and aromatase activity. These increases were accompanied by normalized cardiac ER-α and ER-β protein levels, PGC-1, and COX I mRNA expression, mitochondrial COX activity, and ATP contents. However, cardiac dihydrotestosterone, 5α-reductase II, androgen receptor protein levels, and mtDNA-encoded genes COX II and COX III were unaffected by flutamide treatment. The flutamide-mediated restoration of cardiac function, the increases in aromatase activity and estrogen levels, ER-α, ER-β, PGC-1, COX I, COX activity, and ATP contents were, however, abolished when ER antagonist ICI-182,780 was administrated along with flutamide. These findings suggest that the salutary effect of flutamide on cardiac function after trauma-hemorrhage is mediated via an estrogen-dependent pathway through upregulation of PGC-1. Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society.