Hepatic damage occurs in males and ovariectomized (OVX), not in proestrus (PE), females following trauma-hemorrhage (T-H). The mechanism responsible for hepatoprotection remains unknown. We hypothesized protection in PE is a result of enhanced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1)-derived down-regulation of liver inflammatory responses. PE and OVX rats underwent T-H (midline laparotomy, 60% blood loss). PE rats received vehicle (Veh; saline), HO-1 inhibitor chromium mesoporphyrin IX chloride (CrMP; 2.5 mg/kg), zinc protoporphyrin IX (ZnPP; 25 mg/kg), or Akt/PI-3K inhibitor Wortmannin (Wort; 1 mg/kg) 30 min prior to resuscitation or sham operation i.p. OVX rats received Veh or 17β-estradiol (E2; 1 mg/kg) 30 min before hemorrhage. Rats were killed 2 h thereafter. Following T-H, left ventricular performance was maintained in PE and E2 OVX rats but was depressed in OVX and CrMP-, ZnPP-, and Wort-treated PE rats; liver damage was not evident in PE rats, and CrMP, ZnPP, and Wort abrogated protection; liver HO-1, p38 MAPK, Akt/PI3K, and Bcl-2 expression increased in PE and E2 OVX rats, which was abrogated by CrMP, ZnPP, and Wort, and liver ICAM-1, caspase-3, phospho-IκB-α, and NF-κB expression increased in OVX and CrMP-, ZnPP-, and Wort-PE rats; liver myeloperoxidase, NF-κB DNA-binding activity, TNF-α, IL-6, plasma proinflammatory cytokines, and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractants increased in OVX and CrMP-, ZnPP-, and Wort-PE rats; and plasma estradiol levels and hepatic estrogen receptor-α and -β expression decreased in OVX but were unaltered by CrMP, ZnPP, and Wort. Thus, enhanced HO-1 in PE and E2 OVX females modulates inflammatory responses and protects liver following T-H. © Society for Leukocyte Biology.