Preventive and/or therapeutic interventions for ischemic heart disease have gained considerable attention worldwide. We investigated the mechanism(s) underlying cardioprotection of apocynin (APO) and whether it attenuates isoproterenol (ISO)-induced myocardial damage in vivo. Thirty-two male Wistar Albino rats were randomised into four groups (n = 8 for each group): Group I (Control); Group II (ISO), ISO was given intraperitoneally (ip) (150 mg/kg/d) daily for 2 consecutive days; Group III (APO+ISO), APO was applied ip 20 mg/kg 30 min before the first ISO administration and continued for the next 2 d after the second ISO administration; Group IV (ISO+APO), after the ISO treatment on days 1 and 2, 20 mg/kg APO was given ip on days 3 and 4. Cardioprotective effects of APO were evaluated by biochemical values, histopathological observations and the antiapoptotic relative proteins. Mean blood pressure, heart rate, and electrocardiography (ECG) were also monitored. Malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), reduced glutathione (GSH), total oxidant status (TOS), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), oxidative stress index (OSI), caspase-3 and connexin 43 levels were determined. Major ECG changes were observed in the ISO-treated rats. MDA, TOS, OSI and creatine kinase levels decreased and SOD, CAT, GSH and TAC levels increased, indicating that APO reduced cardiac injury and oxidative stress compared with controls. APO also decreased the number of cardiomyocytes with pyknotic nuclei, inflammatory cell infiltration, intracytoplasmic vacuolisation and myofibrils. APO provides preventive and therapeutic effects on ISO-induced myocardial injury in rats by inhibiting reactive oxygen species production, blocking inflammation and enhancing antioxidant status.