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To investigate mechanisms behind heptanol (Hp)-induced infarct size reduction and in particular if protection by pre-treatment with Hp is triggered through mitochondrial mechanisms.Langendorff perfused rat hearts, isolated mitochondria and isolated myocytes were used. Infarct size, mitochondrial respiration, time to mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening and AKT and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK-3β) phosphorylation were examined.Pre-treatment with Hp reduced infarct size from 29.7 ± 3.4% to 12.6 ± 2.1%. Mitochondrial potassium channel blockers 5-hydroxy decanoic acid (5HD) blocking mitoKATP and paxilline (PAX) blocking mitoKCa abolished cardioprotective effect of Hp (Hp + 5HD 36.7 ± 2.9% and Hp + PAX 40.2 ± 2.8%). Hp significantly reduced respiratory control ratio in both subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar mitochondria in a dose-dependent manner (0.5–5.0 mm). The ADP oxygen ratio was also significantly reduced by Hp (2 mm). Laser scanning confocal microscopy of tetramethylrhodamine-loaded isolated rat myocytes using line scan mode showed that Hp increased time to MPTP opening. Western blot analysis showed that pre-treatment with Hp increased phosphorylation of AKT and GSK-3β before ischaemia and after 30 min of global ischaemia.Pre-treatment with Hp protects the heart against ischaemia-reperfusion injury. This protection is most likely mediated via mitochondrial mechanisms which initiate a signalling cascade that converges on inhibition of opening of MPTP.