1. The ability of tricarboxylic acid-cycle metabolites to influence the physiological performance of the perfused anaerobic rat heart was investigated. Energy expenditure/h [(beats/min)×60×systolic pressure/g of protein] for various anoxic conditions compared with oxygenated control hearts were: 5mm-glucose, 4.5%; 20mm- or 40mm-glucose, 10%; 20mm-glucose plus fumerate+malate+glutamate, 29%; 20mm-glucose plus oxaloacetate and α-oxoglutarate, 31%. 2. The energy expenditure/lactate production ratio was increased by the tricarboxylic acid-cycle metabolites, indicating that alterations in anaerobic physiological performance did not result from changes in glycolysis. 3. Analysis of tissue constituents provided further indication of an enhanced energy status for fumarate+malate+glutamate- and oxaloacetate+α-oxoglutarate-perfused hearts; tissue concentrations of both glycogen and ATP were higher than in the 20mm-glucose-perfused groups. 4. A marked increase in the accumulation of succinate in tissues perfused with oxaloacetate+α-oxoglutarate or fumarate+malate+glutamate provided further evidence that these metabolites were stimulating mitochondrial energy production under anoxia. 5. These studies indicate that mitochondrial ATP production can be stimulated in an isolated mammalian tissue perfused under anaerobiosis with a resulting enhancement of cell function.