Although immune responses following soft-tissue trauma-hemorrhage are markedly different in young (6-8 weeks) and aged (18-20 months) mice, it remains unknown if there are any differences in immune responses in middle-aged and young mice following bone fracture, soft-tissue trauma-hemorrhage (Fx-TH). To study this, young (6-8 weeks) and middle-aged (∼12 months) C3H/HeN male mice were subjected to sham operation or Fx-TH followed by resuscitation with Ringer's lactate. The mice were sacrificed 2h thereafter and splenocytes, bone marrow cells (BM) and Kupffer cells (KC) were harvested, purified and stimulated with ConA (for splenocytes) or LPS (for BM and KC) in vitro. Splenocyte release of Th1 (IL-2 and IFN-γ) cytokines was decreased and Th 2 (IL-4 and IL-10) cytokine release was increased following Fx-TH in both young and middle-aged mice. However, the decrease in IL-2 and increase in IL-10 were significantly more in middle-aged mice compared to young mice (p<0.05). Furthermore, splenocyte proliferation was decreased more in middle-aged mice compared to young mice following Fx-TH (p<0.05). Additionally, TNF-α production was more in BM from middle-aged compared to BM from young mice after Fx-TH (p<0.05). The production of IL-6 and IL-10 was also significantly higher in KC from middle-aged mice compared to young ones following Fx-TH. These results suggest that at middle age, the immune responses to Fx-TH are significantly different from those observed in young mice in different compartments of the body. Although the mechanism of the difference in various compartments in middle-aged vs. young mice following Fx-TH remains unknown, the decreased IL-2 production along with other altered T cell and macrophage functions may contribute to an increased susceptibility to sepsis in middle-aged vs. young individuals. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.