The thrombolytic effect of platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors (GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors) in myocardial infarction has been well established. Nevertheless, data on the mechanism of the cardioprotective effect of GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors in ischemic-reperfusion injury (IR) are lacking. Sprague-Dawley rats received 120 min of coronary ischemia and 180 min of reperfusion. A GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor was given via continuous intravenous infusion at a rate of 2 μg/kg/min 30 min prior to reperfusion with/without inhibitors of PKCε (chelerythrine), PI3 kinase and Akt (wortmannin), p38 MAPK (SB203582), p42/44 MAPK (PD98059) and ERK1/2 (u0126) 15 min prior to the GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor. Protein isolation and analysis were performed by Western blot analysis. The cardioprotective effects were measured as the ratio of myocardial necrotic area to the area at risk (AAR) and the apoptotic index (AI) calculated as the percentage of myocytes positive for terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling of all myocytes stained by 4′, 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole. The GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor reduced the ratio of myocardial necrotic area to AAR and AI, and also exerted an immediate cardioprotective effect by activating multiple signaling pathways including phosphorylation and activation of PKCε, PI3 kinase, Akt, p38 MAPK, p42/44 MAPK and ERK1/2. However, there were no significant increases in the phosphorylation of Raf and MEK1/2. We concluded that the GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor reduced the extent of cardiac IR and significantly ameliorate the apoptosis of myocytes in the rats. In addition, the cardioprotective effect was mediated through the activation of multiple signal transduction pathways.