Proinflammatory cytokines play a central role in depression-like behaviour and apoptosis in the limbic system after myocardial infarction (MI). A PUFA n-3 diet or the combination of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 probiotics, when given before the ischaemic period, reduce circulating proinflammatory cytokines as well as apoptosis in the limbic system. The present study was designed to determine if the same nutritional interventions maintain their beneficial effects when started after the onset of the reperfusion period and attenuate depression-like behaviour observed after MI. MI was induced by the occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery for 40 min in rats. After the onset of reperfusion, animals were fed with a high- or low-PUFA n-3 diet, combined or not with one billion live bacteria of L. helveticus and B. longum. At 3 d post-MI, caspase-3 enzymatic activities and terminal 2'-deoxyuridine, 5'-triphosphate (dUTP) nick-end labelling (TUNEL)-positive cells were decreased in the CA1, dentate gyrus (DG) and amygdala with the high-PUFA n-3 diet, as compared to the three other diets. Probiotics attenuated caspase-3 activity and TUNEL-positive cells in the DG and the medial amygdala. At 2 weeks post-MI, depression-like behaviour was observed in the low-PUFA n-3 diet without probiotics-group, and this behaviour was attenuated with the high-PUFA n-3 diet or/and probiotics. These results indicate that a high-PUFA n-3 diet or the administration of probiotics, starting after the onset of reperfusion, are beneficial to attenuate apoptosis in the limbic system and post-MI depression in the rat.