Young and old (4 and 25 months of age, respectively) Fisher 344/Brown Norway hybrid female rats were subjected to four 3 min episodes of ischemia separated by 5 min of reperfusion. Corresponding open-chest sham-operated groups received 32 min of no intervention. All rats were allowed to recover, and 24h later hearts were removed and frozen in liquid nitrogen. Global gene profiling in the ischemic and the non-ischemic areas and in the sham-operated hearts as well was carried out by using Affymetrix Gene Chips. Young ischemic hearts demonstrated down-regulation of gene expression associated with early-remodeling including down-regulation of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1, decorin, collagen, tropoelastin, and fibulin, as well as decreases in hypertrophy-related transcripts. In contrast, old hearts showed a unique injury-related response, which included up-regulation of mRNAs for proteins associated with hypertrophy or apoptosis (including H36-alpha7 integrin, alpha-actin, tubulin, filamin, connective tissue growth factor, calcineurin, serine protease, and apoptosis inducing factor). These injury-related changes in gene expression could in part explain increased gravity of outcomes of ischemia and myocardial infarction in elderly hearts.