A reduced availability of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), an essential cofactor for NO-synthesis, is causally involved in the development of endothelial dysfunction associated with ischemia/reperfusion. We, therefore, investigated the effect of sepiapterin, a substrate for BH4 synthesis, on postischemic injury in myocardial infarction and myocardial stunning. In rats, myocardial stunning was induced by repetitive ischemia (5 x 10-min ligature of the left coronary artery, 5 x 20-min reperfusion) and myocardial infarction by 50-min ligature and 60-min reperfusion. Myocardial blood flow was determined by H2-clearance, regional myocardial function by pulsed Doppler and infarct size by tetrazolium staining. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity was measured as a marker of neutrophil extravasation. cGMP was determined in rat serum as an indicator of increased NO synthesis. In animals treated with sepiapterin, regional myocardial function was significantly improved in both myocardial stunning and infarction and infarct size was significantly reduced. MPO activity decreased with sepiapterin treatment in both models. The systemic level of cGMP was reduced both following myocardial stunning and myocardial infarction in the control group. Pretreatment with sepiapterin induced a significant increase of cGMP level at the end of the protocol in both models. Substitution of sepiapterin reduces postischemic injury both in myocardial stunning and infarction apparently by ameliorating the availability of NO, thereby attenuating the activation of neutrophils in ischemia/reperfusion.