Portal hypertension (PHT) is primarily caused by an increase in resistance to portal outflow and secondarily by an increase in splanchnic blood flow. Vascular hyporeactivity both in systemic circulation and in the mesenteric artery plays a role in the hyperdynamic circulatory syndrome. To explore gender differences and the role of endogenous sex hormones in PHT and vascular reactivity of mesenteric arterioles in rats. Cirrhosis and PHT were established by subcutaneous injection of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in both male and female integral and castrated rats (ovariectomized [OVX] in female rats, orchiectomy [ORX] in male rats). The third-order branch of the mensenteric artery was divided and used to measure vascular reactivity to vasoconstrictors. No significant difference in portal pressure was observed between integral and castrated male PHT rats (15.2 ± 2.1 mmHg vs 16.7 ± 2.7 mmHg, P > 0.05). The portal pressure in integral female PHT rats was lower than that in OVX female PHT rats (12.7 ± 2.7 mmHg vs 16.5 ± 2.4 mmHg, P < 0.05). In PHT rats, the concentration response curves of the mesenteric arterioles to norepinephrine were shifted to the right, and the maximal responses (Emax) values were decreased and effective concentrations causing half maximum responses (EC50) values were increased, compared to those of non-PHT rats, both in male and female rats. Compared to non-PHT integral male rats, the sensitivity of the mesenteric arterioles of non-PHT ORX male rats to norepinephrine was decreased (P > 0.05). However, there was no difference between integral and ORX male rats with PHT. In integral female PHT rats, the concentration response curves were shifted to the left (P < 0.05), and the Emax values were increased and EC50 values were decreased compared to OVX female PHT rats. Clear gender differences were observed in mesenteric vascular reactivity in CCl4-induced cirrhotic and PHT rats. Conservation of estrogen can retain the sensitivity of the mesenteric arterioles to vasoconstrictors and has a protective effect on splanchnic vascular function in PHT. ©The Author(s) 2019. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.