Abstract Isolated rat neonatal cardiac myocytes were subjected to immersion in hypoxic (PO 2 < 2 mm Hg), glucose-free Tyrode's solution for 5 h followed by concomitant reoxygenation and staining with the membrane-impermeant fluorophore, propidium iodide, in normoxic (PO 2 > 150 mm Hg), serum-free culture media for 15 min in order to assess sarcolemmal damage indicative of myocyte viability due to hypoxia/reoxygenation injury. Prior to hypoxic exposure, cells were pretreated for 90 min with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor cyclopenta[ b]pyrrole-2-carboxylic acid, 1-[2-[(1-carboxy-3-phenylpropyl)amino]-1-oxopropyl]octahydro-[2 S-[1[ R∗( R∗)]2α,3aβ,6aβ]] (ramiprilat), concomitantly with ramiprilat and H- d-Arg-Arg-Pro-Hyp-Gly-Thi-Ser- d-Tic-Oic-Arg-OH (bradykinin B 2 receptor antagonist HOE 140), the bioactive peptide Arg-Pro-Pro-Gly-Phe-Ser-Pro-Phe-Arg (bradykinin) or concomitantly with bradykinin and HOE 140. Hypoxia/reoxygenation injury to untreated control cardiac myocytes was characterized by a significant loss of sarcolemmal integrity measured at 75 ± 4% of total cell fluorescence (mean ± S.E., n = 42 cultures). Compared to propidium iodide staining of the above untreated control myocytes, those pretreated with 30 or 100 μM ramiprilat showed a significant reduction of propidium iodide staining to 45 ± 9% and 40 ± 8% ( n = 9, P < 0.05) of untreated controls, respectively. Pretreatment with the protective concentrations of ramiprilat concomitant with 10 μM HOE 140 abolished the significant reduction in propidium iodide staining observed with ramiprilat alone. Similarly, pretreatment with 10 or 100 nM bradykinin significantly reduced propidium iodide staining to 35 ± 5% and 60 ± 10% ( n = 6, P < 0.05) of the untreated hypoxic controls, respectively. In addition, concomitant pretreatment with protective concentrations of bradykinin and 10 μM HOE 140 also abolished the significant reduction in propidium iodide staining observed with bradykinin alone. The results indicate that the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor ramiprilat has a protective effect on isolated cardiac myocytes exposed to hypoxia/reoxygenation and that this effect is most likely related to a local action of bradykinin on the cardiac myocyte via the activation of the kinin B 2 receptor.