Preconditioning (PC) protects against ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury via the activation of the JAK-STAT pathway. We hypothesized that the mediators responsible for PC can be transferred to naive myocardium through the coronary effluent. Langendorff-perfused hearts from male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to paired donor/acceptor protocols with or without PC in the presence or absence of the JAK-2 inhibitor AG-490 (n = 6 for each group). Warmed, oxygenated coronary effluent collected during the reperfusion phases of PC (3 cycles of 5 min ischemia and 5 min reperfusion) was administered to acceptor hearts. The hearts were then subjected to 30 min ischemia and 40 min reperfusion. The left ventricles were analyzed for phosphorylated (p)STAT-1, pSTAT-3, Bax, Bcl, Bcl-X(L)/Bcl-2-associated protein (BAD), and caspase-3 expression by Western blot. A separate group of hearts (n = 6) was analyzed for STAT activation immediately after the transfer of the PC effluent (no I-R). Baseline cardiodynamics were not different among the groups. End-reperfusion maximal change in pressure over time (+dP/dt(max)) was significantly (P < 0.05) improved in acceptor PC (3,637 +/- 199 mmHg/s) and donor PC (4,304 +/- 347 mmHg/s) hearts over non-PC donor (2,020 +/- 363 mmHg/s) and acceptor (2,624 +/- 345 mmHg/s) hearts. Similar differences were seen for minimal change in pressure over time (-dP/dt(min)). STAT-3 activation was significantly increased in donor and acceptor PC hearts compared with non-PC hearts. Conversely, pSTAT-1 and Bax expression was decreased in donor and acceptor PC hearts compared with non-PC hearts. No differences in Bcl, BAD, or caspase-3 expression were observed. Treatment with AG-490 attenuated the recovery of +/-dP/dt in acceptor PC hearts and significantly reduced pSTAT-3 expression. The PC coronary effluent activates JAK-STAT signaling, limits apoptosis, and protects myocardial performance from I/R injury.