Abstract In this work, we consider the reduction of information transmission frequency of distributed moving horizon estimation (DMHE) for a class of nonlinear systems in which interacting subsystems exchange information with each other through a shared communication network. Specifically, algorithms based on two event-triggered methods are proposed to reduce the number of information transmissions between the subsystems in a DMHE scheme. In the first algorithm, a subsystem sends out its current information when a triggering condition based on the difference between the current state estimate and a previously transmitted one is satisfied; in the second algorithm, the transmission of information from a subsystem to other subsystems is triggered by the difference between the current measurement of the output and its derivatives and a previously transmitted measurement. In order to ensure the convergence and ultimate boundedness of the estimation error, we also propose to redesign the local moving horizon estimator of a subsystem to account for the possible lack of state updates from other subsystems explicitly. A chemical process is utilized to demonstrate the applicability and performance of the proposed approaches.