Proteolytic activity and activity of endogenous inhibitors of endopeptidases (using chymotrypsin and papain) were studied in the myocardium of rats with experimental ischemia during an acute phase (60 min) and within 5 days after ligation of the left descending coronary artery; effects of the beta-adrenoblocking agent propranolol and the calcium antagonist verapamil on these activities was also studied. During the acute phase of ischemia, the activity of acid proteases was increased by 30%, that of Ca(2+)-activated neutral proteases by 15-20%. At the same time, the activity of serine proteases inhibitors was decreased while the activity of thiol protease inhibitors was increased. Within 5 days of coronary artery occlusion, Lysosomal thiol-dependent endopeptidases were activated in the myocardium; a considerably higher activity of the inhibitors of serine- and cysteine-containing endopeptidases was detected. The cardioactive drugs propranolol and verapamil affected selectively both endopeptidase activity and their inhibitors.