A prolonged depression of cardiovascular function occurs in males after trauma-hemorrhagic shock (T-H). Although a correlation between increased circulatory IL-6 levels and poor outcome has been reported after T-H, it remains unknown whether T-H increases IL-6 levels locally in cardiomyocytes and whether there is a correlation between altered cardiac function and local IL-6 production after T-H. T-H was induced in normal, castrated (2 wk before T-H), and 17β-estradiol (E2)-treated (0.5 mg sc, 1 wk before T-H) adult male rats. At 2 h after T-H or sham operation, cardiac output, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, positive and negative first derivative of pressure (±dP/dt), stroke volume, and total peripheral resistance were determined. Cardiomyocytes were isolated and divided into two parts: one was used for measurements of intracellular IL-6 levels using fluorescein-activated cell sorting, and the other was used to isolate RNA to determine IL-6 gene expression by quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, cardiac IL-6 protein levels were measured in freshly isolated hearts by Western blotting. Cardiac output, stroke volume, +dP/dt, -dP/dt, and total peripheral resistance were markedly altered after T-H. These parameters, except -dP/dt, improved significantly in the castrated group; however, all these parameters were restored in E 2-treated males. Cardiomyocyte IL-6 mRNA expression and intracellular IL-6 production increased after T-H. Cardiac IL-6 protein levels increased after T-H in freshly isolated heart. Castration and E2 treatment attenuated cardiomyocyte intracellular IL-6 levels and cardiac IL-6 protein levels after T-H; however, only E2 treatment attenuated cardiomyocyte IL-6 gene expression. Thus there is an inverse correlation between cardiomyocyte IL-6 levels and cardiac function after T-H. The salutary effects of E2 on cardiac function after T-H may be due in part to decreased IL-6 synthesis in cardiomyocytes.