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Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β inhibitors play an anti-inflammatory role in several inflammatory diseases. Recent studies have demonstrated that GSK-3β inhibitors protect against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, the precise mechanisms remain unclear. We aimed to investigate the roles of inflammation and apoptosis induced by ischemia-reperfusion in the cardioprotection by GSK-3β inhibitor 4-benzyl-2-methyl-1, 2, 4-thiadiazolidine-3, 5-dione (TDZD-8). Anaesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats underwent an open-chest procedure involving 30 min of myocardial ischemia and 6 h of reperfusion with or without TDZD-8 given at reperfusion. TDZD-8 reduced myocardial infarct size by nearly 43% (P < 0.05 vs. myocardial ischemia-reperfusion) and attenuated myeloperoxidase activity (21.80 ± 1.07 U/100 mg tissue. vs. myocardial ischemia-reperfusion group, P < 0.05). Administration of TDZD-8 significantly suppressed nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and p38 MAPK activation (P < 0.05 vs. myocardial ischemia-reperfusion) and the concentrations of the myocardial-derived cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α, 107.40 ± 7.34 pg/mg protein vs. myocardial ischemia-reperfusion group, P < 0.05) and interleukin-6 (IL-6, 29.28 ± 6.3 pg/mg protein vs. myocardial ischemia-reperfusion group, P < 0.05). Treatment with TDZD-8 also inhibited myocardial cell apoptosis compared with the myocardial ischemia-reperfusion group (12 ± 1% vs. 22 ± 2%, P < 0.05). Therefore, blocking this protein kinase activity may be a novel approach to the treatment of this condition, which is characterized by inflammation and apoptosis.