This study was performed to determine whether melatonin could have a protective effect against myocardial injury (MI) induced by isoproterenol (ISO) in rats. Twenty-four rats were divided into three treatment groups: (1) control (n = 8): saline solution. (2) ISO (n = 8): ISO only. (3) melatonin + ISO (n = 8). Melatonin (10 mg/kg/day, i.p.) was administered 30 min before the initiation of ISO (150 mg/kg/day, s.c.). Drugs and saline were given at 14:00 hr for two consecutive days. At the end of the second day, blood samples were taken from the abdominal aorta shortly after the rats were anesthetized for the purpose of measuring cardiac troponins T (cTnT) and I (cTnI); hearts were removed, preserved and examined microscopically. Additionally, based on the histological changes in myocardial tissue, the rats were divided into three groups: no change, mild changes and moderate and/or marked changes. The mean cTnT and cTnI values were significantly increased in ISO group compared with control group [(1.29 +/- 0.22 ng/mL versus 0.46 +/- 0.07 ng/mL, P < 0.0001) and (0.56 +/- 0.11 ng/mL versus 0.21 +/- 0.01 ng/mL, P < 0.001)], respectively, and were significantly reduced in the ISO + melatonin group (0.65 +/- 0.06 ng/mL for cTnT and 0.25 +/- 0.01 ng/mL for cTnI) compared with the ISO only group (P < 0.01), respectively. cTnT and cTnI values were significantly increased in rats with moderate and/or marked cardiac changes compared with hearts where there were mild changes and no change (P < 0.05). ISO + melatonin group showed less histological changes than the ISO group (P < 0.01). In conclusion, this study revealed a protective effect of melatonin against ISO-induced MI in rats, and its potential clinical application in the treatment of MI.