Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) is an incretin peptide secreted from intestinal L-cells, whose potent plasma glucose-lowering action has prompted intense efforts to develop GLP-1 receptor-targeting drugs for treatment of diabetic hyperglycemia. More recently, GLP-1 and its analogues have been shown to exert cardiovascular effects in a number of experimental models. Here we tested exendin-4 (Exe-4), a peptide agonist at GLP-1 receptors, and GLP-1(9-36) amide, the primary endogenous metabolite of GLP-1 (both in the concentration range 0.03-3.0 nM), for their protective effects against ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in an isolated rat heart preparation. When administered, the agents were only present for the first 15 min of a 120 min reperfusion period (postconditioning protocol). Exe-4, but not GLP-1(9-36) amide, showed a strong infarct-limiting action (from 33.2% +/-2.7% to 14.5% +/-2.2% of the ischemic area, p<0.05). This infarct size-limiting effect of Exe-4 was abolished by exendin(9-39) (Exe(9-39)), a GLP-1 receptor antagonist. In contrast, both Exe-4 and GLP-1(9-36) amide were able to augment left ventricular performance (left ventricular developed pressure and rate-pressure product) during the last 60 min of reperfusion. These effects were only partially antagonized by Exe(9-39). We suggest that Exe-4, in addition to being currently exploited in treatment of diabetes, may present a suitable candidate for postconditioning trials in clinical settings of IRI. The divergent agonist effects of Exe-4 and GLP-1(9-36), along with correspondingly divergent antagonistic efficacy of Exe(9-39), seem consistent with the presence of more than one type of GLP-1 receptor in this system.