To compare regulatory effects of NOS2 in acute and chronic cardiac allograft rejection, we used NOS2 knockout mice as recipients in a cardiac transplant model. To study acute and chronic rejection separately but within the same genetic strain combination, we compared allografts placed into recipients without or with immunosuppression (anti-CD4/8 for 28 days). NOS2 mRNA and protein expression were compared using 32P-RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. In our acute rejection model, NOS2 was predominately localized to graft-infiltrating immune cells. At day 7, grafts in NOS2-deficient recipients (n = 7) showed reduced inflammatory infiltrates and myocyte damage resulting in significantly lower rejection scores (1.6 ± 0.4) compared to wild-type controls (n = 18; 2.8 ± 0.2, P = 0.002). In contrast, in our chronic rejection model, additional NOS2 expression was localized to graft-parenchymal cells. At day 55, grafts in NOS2-deficient recipients (n = 12) showed more parenchymal infiltration and parenchymal destruction (rejection score 3.8 ± 0.1) than wild-type controls (n = 15; 1.6 ± 0.2, P < 0.0001). This was associated with a significant decrease in ventricular contractility (palpation score 0.3 ± 0.1 compared to 2.3 ± 0.3 in wild-type, P < 0.0001). Hence, NOS2 promotes acute but prevents chronic rejection. These opposing effects during acute and chronic cardiac allograft rejection are dependent on the temporal and spatial expression pattern of NOS2 during both forms of rejection.