We investigated the ability of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) to confer resistance to acute oxidative stress in freshly isolated adult male rat cardiomyocytes. Fluorescence microscopy was used to detect generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential (Deltapsi(m)) depolarization induced by hydrogen peroxide. H(2)O(2) caused substantial cell death, which was significantly reduced by preincubation with PQQ. H(2)O(2) also caused an increase in cellular ROS levels as detected by the fluorescent indicators CM-H2XRos and dihydroethidium. ROS levels were significantly reduced by a superoxide dismutase mimetic Mn (III) tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin chloride (MnTBAP) or by PQQ treatment. Cyclosporine-A, which inhibits mitochondrial permeability transition, prevented H(2)O(2)-induced Deltapsi(m) depolarization, as did PQQ and MnTBAP. Our results provide direct evidence that PQQ reduces oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cell death in isolated adult rat cardiomyocytes. These findings provide new insight into the mechanisms of PQQ action in the heart.