Brief exposure to isoflurane or repetitive, transient ischemia during early reperfusion after prolonged coronary artery occlusion protects against myocardial infarction by inhibiting the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). Inhibition of mPTP during delayed ischemic preconditioning occurred concomitant with enhanced expression of the antiapoptotic protein B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2). We tested the hypothesis that Bcl-2 mediates myocardial protection by isoflurane or brief ischemic episodes during reperfusion in rabbits (n = 91) subjected to a 30-min left anterior descending coronary artery occlusion followed by 3 h reperfusion. Rabbits received 0.9% saline, isoflurane (0.5 or 1.0 minimum alveolar concentration, MAC) administered for 3 min before and 2 min after reperfusion, 3 cycles of postconditioning ischemia (10 or 20 s each) during early reperfusion, 0.5 MAC isoflurane plus 3 cycles of postconditioning ischemia (10 s), or the direct mPTP inhibitor cyclosporin A (CsA, 10 mg/kg) in the presence or absence of the selective Bcl-2 inhibitor HA14-1 (2 mg/kg, i.p.). Isoflurane (1.0, but not 0.5, MAC) and postconditioning ischemia (20 s but not 10 s) significantly (P < 0.05) reduced infarct size (mean ± sd, 21% ± 4%, 43% ± 7%, 19% ± 7%, and 39% ± 11%, respectively, of left ventricular area at risk) as compared with control (44% ± 4%). Isoflurane (0.5 MAC) plus 10 s postconditioning ischemia and CsA alone also exerted protection. HA14-1 alone did not affect infarct size nor block protection produced by CsA but abolished reductions in infarct size caused by 1.0 MAC isoflurane, 20 s postconditioning ischemia, and 0.5 MAC isoflurane plus 10 s postconditioning ischemia. The results suggest that Bcl-2 mediates isoflurane-induced and ischemic postconditioning by indirectly modulating mPTP activity in vivo.