Immune responses in proestrus females are not altered after trauma-hemorrhage, whereas they are markedly depressed in males. Elevated levels of female sex steroids appear to be responsible for maintaining immune responses but it remains unknown, whether estrogen per se is responsible. To study this, proestrus female C3H/HeN mice were subjected to laparotomy (i.e., soft tissue trauma) and hemorrhagic shock (35±5mmHg for 90min, then resuscitated) or sham operation and received the estrogen receptor antagonist EM-800 or vehicle during resuscitation. Two hours following trauma-hemorrhage, splenocyte proliferation, IL-2, IL-3, IFN-γ release, and splenic macrophage IL-6 release was maintained in vehicle-treated females. In EM-800-treated females, however, these immune parameters were significantly depressed. Following trauma-hemorrhage, Kupffer cell TNF-α release and circulating TNF-α were increased only in EM-800-treated females. These findings indicate that the ability of proestrus females to maintain immune function following trauma-hemorrhage is estrogen-dependent and mediated via estrogen receptors. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.