Excess amount of cytokine produced by inflammatory stimuli contributes to the progression of myocardial damage in myocarditis. Some angiotensin II receptor type 1 antagonists are reported to inhibit proinflammatory cytokine production in vitro and in vivo. We tested the hypothesis that olmesartan, a novel angiotensin II receptor type 1 antagonist, ameliorated experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) in rats attributing to the suppression of inflammatory cytokines in the heart. We orally administered olmesartan 1, 3, and 10 mg/kg/day to rats with EAM for 3 weeks. The results showed that olmesartan decreased blood pressure significantly compared with the untreated group, but markedly reduced the severity of myocarditis by comparing the heart weight/body weight ratio, pericardial effusion scores, macroscopic scores and microscopic scores. Myocardial interleukin (IL)- 1beta expression by western blotting and IL-1beta-positive staining cells by immunohistochemistry were significantly lower in rats with EAM given olmesartan treatment compared with those of rats given vehicle. We conclude that Olmesartan ameliorates acute EAM in rats. The cardioprotection of olmesartan may be due to suppression of inflammatory cytokines dependent of the hemodynamic modifications.