Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) has been accepted as a heart protection phenomenon against ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury. The activation of ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels and the release of myocardial nitric oxide (NO) induced by IPC were demonstrated as the triggers or mediators of IPC. A common action mechanism of NO is a direct or indirect increase in tissue cGMP content. Furthermore, cGMP has also been shown to contribute cardiac protective effect to reduce heart I/R-induced infarction. The present investigation tested the hypothesis that KATP channels attenuate DNA strand breaks and oxidative damage in an in vitro model of I/R utilizing rat ventricular myocytes. We estimated DNA strand breaks and oxidative damage by mean of single cell gel electrophoresis with endonuclease III cutting sites (comet assay). In the I/R model, the level of DNA damage increased massively. Preconditioning with a single 5-min anoxia, diazoxide (100μM), SNAP (300μM) and 8-(4-Chlorophenylthio)-guanosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-pCPT-cGMP) (100μM) followed by 15 min reoxygenation reduced DNA damage level against subsequent 30 min anoxia and 60 min reoxygenation. These protective effects were blocked by the concomitant presence of glibenclamide (50μM), 5-hydroxydecanoate (5-HD) (100μM) and 8-(4-Chlorophenylthio)-guanosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate, Rp-isomer (Rp-8-pCPT-cGMP) (100μM). These results suggest that NO-cGMP-protein kinase G (PKG) pathway contributes to cardioprotective effect of KATP channels in rat ventricular myocytes.