While it is well known that adenosine receptor activation protects the heart from ischemia/reperfusion injury, the precise mitochondrial mechanism responsible for the action remains unknown. This study probed the mitochondrial events associated with the cardioprotective effect of 5′-(N-ethylcarboxamido) adenosine (NECA), an adenosine A2 receptor agonist. Isolated rat hearts were subjected to 30 min ischemia followed by 10 min of reperfusion, whereas H9c2 cells experienced 20 min ischemia and 10 min reperfusion. NECA prevented mitochondrial structural damage, decreases in respiratory control ratio (RCR), and collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm). Both the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist SCH58261 and A2B receptor antagonist MRS1706 inhibited the action of NECA. NECA reduced mitochondrial proteins carbonylation, H2O2, and superoxide generation at reperfusion, but did not change superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. In support, the protective effects of NECA and Peg-SOD on ΔΨm upon reperfusion were additive, implying that NECA's protection is attributable to the reduced superoxide generation but not to the enhancement of the superoxide-scavenging capacity. NECA increased the mitochondrial Src tyrosine kinase activity and suppressed complex I activity at reperfusion in a Src-dependent manner. NECA also reduced mitochondrial superoxide through Src tyrosine kinase. Studies with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer (LC-MS) identified Tyr118 of the NDUFV2 subunit of complex 1 as a likely site of the tyrosine phosphorylation. Furthermore, the complex I activity of cells transfected with the Y118F mutant was increased, suggesting that this site might be a negative regulator of complex I activity. In support, NECA failed to suppress complex I activity at reperfusion in cells transfected with the Y118F mutant of NDUFV2. In conclusion, NECA prevents mitochondrial oxidative stress by decreasing mitochondrial superoxide generation through inhibition of complex I via the mitochondrial Src tyrosine kinase. Phosphorylation of Tyr118 residue in NDUFV2 subunit may account for the inhibitory effect of NECA on complex I.