The widely expressed dipeptidyl peptidase-4 enzyme rapidly cleaves the gut hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 [GLP-1(7-36)amide] at the N terminus to generate GLP-1(9-36)amide. Both intact GLP-1(7-36)amide and GLP-1(9-36)amide exert cardioprotective actions in rodent hearts; however, the mechanisms underlying the actions of GLP-1(9-36)amide remain poorly understood. We used mass spectrometry of coronary effluents to demonstrate that isolated mouse hearts rapidly convert infused GLP-1(7-36)amide to GLP-1(9-36)amide. After ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury of isolated mouse hearts, administration of GLP-1(9-36)amide or exendin-4 improved functional recovery and reduced infarct size. The direct actions of these peptides were studied in cultured neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes. Both GLP-1(9-36)amide and exendin-4 increased levels of cAMP and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase target protein kinase B/Akt. In I/R injury models in vitro, both peptides improved mouse cardiomyocyte viability and reduced lactate dehydrogenase release and caspase-3 activation. These effects were attenuated by inhibitors of ERK1/2 and phosphoinositide 3-kinase. Unexpectedly, the cardioprotective actions of GLP-1(9-36)amide were blocked by exendin(9-39) yet preserved in Glp1r(-/-) cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, GLP-1(9-36)amide, but not exendin-4, improved the survival of human aortic endothelial cells undergoing I/R injury, actions sensitive to the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). In summary, our findings demonstrate separate actions for GLP-1(9-36)amide vs. the GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 and reveal the existence of a GLP-1(9-36)amide-responsive, exendin(9-39)-sensitive, cardioprotective signaling pathway distinct from that associated with the classical GLP-1 receptor.