Studies indicate that trauma-hemorrhage results in activation of Kupffer cells to release inflammatory mediators and it leads to immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to subsequent sepsis. The cyclooxygenase (COX) product prostaglandin (PG) E2 appears to be central to this process, however, non-selective inhibition of COX activity with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents that block both the constitutive (COX-1) and inducible (COX-2) isoforms of cyclooxygenase has not yielded promising results in trauma patients. Nonetheless, it remains unknown whether selective inhibition of COX-2 activity has any salutary effect following trauma-hemorrhage and subsequent induction of sepsis. To study this, male C3H/HeN mice were subjected to laparotomy (i.e., soft-tissue trauma) and hemorrhagic shock (35 ± 5 mmHg for 90 min, then resuscitated) or to sham operation. Twenty-four hours later, the mice were subjected to sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) or to sham CLP. The mice were treated with the COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 (10 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneally) or vehicle immediately after trauma-hemorrhage or sham operation, 12 h thereafter, and following CLP or sham CLP. At 5 h after CLP, plasma PGE2, Interleukin-(IL) 6, and TNF-α levels were determined along with Kupffer cell IL-6 and TNF-α production in vitro. NS-398 treatment markedly suppressed the elevation in plasma PGE2 levels following CLP. The increase in plasma IL-6 levels after CLP were also significantly attenuated by NS-398 treatment. In vitro Kupffer cell IL-6 production after CLP was significantly reduced by in vivo NS-398 treatment. However, NS-398 had no effect on TNF-α levels, in vivo and in vitro. These findings indicate that activation of COX-2 following trauma-hemorrhage and subsequent sepsis up-regulates Kupffer cell IL-6 production. Thus, selective inhibition of COX-2 activity may reduce the deleterious consequences of sepsis under such conditions.