Ventricular remodeling can play a detrimental role in the progression of cardiovascular diseases, leading to heart failure. The current study was designed to investigate the effects of 17beta-estradiol (E2) on cardiac remodeling. Cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy were examined in deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt treated rats with chronic, six-week administration of two different doses of E2. Bilaterally ovariectomized (Ovex) female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to one of the following groups: Ovex-control; Ovex-DOCA; Ovex-DOCA+low-dose E2 (1.66 microg/day); or Ovex-DOCA+high-dose E2 (2.38 microg/day). All DOCA-treated rats were uninephrectomized and drinking water was replaced by 0.15M NaCl solution for the remainder of the study period. DOCA-salt treatment resulted in a significant increase in blood pressure, which was not altered by estrogen replacement. Histological examinations revealed marked cardiac remodeling (both ventricular hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis) with DOCA treatment, which was attenuated in animals receiving estrogen therapy. Western blot analysis demonstrated increased cardiac levels of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) with DOCA treatment, which was attenuated by E2 replacement. Furthermore, increased levels of cardiac angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein were observed in animals receiving high-dose E2 replacement. These findings suggest that physiologically relevant estrogen replacement therapy has blood pressure-independent cardioprotective effects, which are possibly mediated through modulation of the cardiac renin-angiotensin system.