We have investigated the role of tyrosine kinase in the antiarrhythmic effects of peroxynitrite preconditioning in rat isolated heart by using a tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, sodium orthovanadate, and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, genistein and tyrphostin. Rat hearts were preconditioned by peroxynitrite administration at 1 muM for 3 min, which was followed by 10-min washout and 30 min of ischemia. None of the hearts had ventricular fibrillation in the peroxynitrite preconditioning group (from 64%, n=11, to 0%, n=11). Neither sodium orthovanadate (10 muM) nor gemstein (50 muM) or tyrphostin (100 muM) alone showed any effects on arrhythmias. Peroxynitrite preserved its beneficial effects on arrhythmias (to 0% ventricular fibrillation, n=7) during sodium orthovanadate infusion (for 23 min) prior to 30 min of an ischemic period. On the other hand, genistein or tyrphostin treatment significantly reversed the protective effects of the peroxynitrite preconditioning (to 71% ventricular fibrillation, n=14, genistein and, to 75% ventricular fibrillation, n=8, tyrphostin). These results suggest that the tyrosine kinase pathway plays a significant role in peroxynitrite-induced preconditioning in rat isolated heart. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.