Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in significant hippocampal pathology and hippocampal-dependent memory loss, both of which are alleviated by hypothermia treatment. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulated by hypothermia after TBI, rats underwent moderate parasagittal fluid-percussion brain injury. Brain temperature was maintained at normothermic or hypothermic temperatures for 30 min prior and up to 4 h after TBI. The ipsilateral hippocampus was assayed with Western blotting. We found that hypothermia potentiated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activation and its downstream effectors, p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (p90RSK) and the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein. Phosphorylation of another p90RSK substrate, Bad, also increased with hypothermia after TBI. ERK1/2 regulates mRNA translation through phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase-interacting kinase 1 (Mnk1) and the translation factor eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E). Hypothermia also potentiated the phosphorylation of both Mnk1 and eIF4E. Augmentation of ERK1/2 activation and its downstream signalling components may be one molecular mechanism that hypothermia treatment elicits to improve functional outcome after TBI.