Acute lung injury (ALI) is one of the most serious complications in traumatic patients and is an important part of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). Recombinant human brain natriuretic peptide (rhBNP) is a peptide with a wide range of biological activity. In this study, we investigated local changes in oxidative stress and the NF-κB-dependent matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) pathway in rats with trauma/haemorrhagic shock (TH/S)-induced ALI and evaluated the effects of pretreatment with rhBNP. Forty-eight rats were randomly divided into four groups: sham operation group, model group, low-dosage rhBNP group and high-dosage rhBNP group (n = 12 for each group). Oxidative stress and MPO activity were measured by ELISA kits. MMP-9 activity was detected by zymography analysis. NF-κB activity was determined using Western blot assay. With rhBNP pretreatment, TH/S-induced protein leakage, increased MPO activity, lipid peroxidation and metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 activity were inhibited. Activation of antioxidative enzymes was reversed. The phosphorylation of NF-κB and the degradation of its inhibitor IκB were suppressed. The results suggested that the protection mechanism of rhBNP is possibly mediated through upregulation of anti-oxidative enzymes and inhibition of NF-κB activation. More studies are needed to further evaluate whether rhBNP is a suitable candidate as an effective inhaling drug to reduce the incidence of TH/S-induced ALI.