Myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) leads to oxidative stress, which may in turn lead to myocardial injury. In the present study, we investigated the effects of exenatide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue, on oxidative stress-induced injury in vitro and in vivo. In in vitro experiments, H9c2 cells were incubated with exenatide to determine the direct cytoprotective effects of exenatide following exposure to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Pre-treatment with exenatide (1 nM), prior to H2O2 exposure, increased cell viability and inhibited H2O2-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Exenatide also decreased the levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) in the cultured supernatants, as well as those of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the H9c2 cells and increased the total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) levels in the H9c2 cells. In in vivo experiments, an animal model of MI/R was induced by coronary occlusion. Pre-treatment with exenatide (10 µg/kg/day) protected the rat hearts from MI/R-induced injury by decreasing the levels of LDH and CK-MB in plasma, increasing the levels of catalase, T-SOD and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) in the heart and decreasing the MDA levels in the rats with MI/R-induced injury. Exenatide also reduced the infarct size and enhanced cardiac function in the rats with MI/R-induced injury. Moreover, pre-treatment with exenatide inhibited cardiomyocyte apoptosis, increased Aktserine473 and Badserine136 phosphorylation and decreased cleaved caspase-3 expression in vitro and in vivo; however, these effects were attenuated by the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, LY294002. Our results suggest that exenatide exerts significant cardioprotective effects against oxidative stress-induced injury in vitro and in vivo. The mechanisms involved may be attributed to the scavenging of oxidative stress products, such as ROS, the increase in the concentrations of antioxidant defense enzymes and the inhibition of cardiomyocyte apoptosis. The anti-apoptotic effects of exenatide were, at least in part, associated with the activation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.