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Nitric oxide produced by inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of chronic myocardial remodeling and failure. We tested the role of NOS2 in left ventricular (LV) remodeling early (1 month) and late (4 months) after myocardial infarction (MI) in mice lacking NOS2. MI size measured 7 days, 1 month, and 4 months after MI was the same in NOS2 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice. The LV end-diastolic pressure-volume relationship measured by the isovolumic Langendorff technique showed a progressive rightward shift from 1 to 4 months after MI in WT mice. LV developed pressure measured over a range of LV volumes was reduced at 1 and 4 months after MI in WT mice (P<0.05 and P<0.01 versus shams, respectively). In KO mice, the rightward shift was similar to that in WT mice at 1 and 4 months after MI, as was peak LV developed pressure at 1 month after MI. In contrast, at 4 months after MI, peak LV developed pressure in KO mice was higher than in WT mice (P<0.05 versus WT) and similar to that in sham-operated mice. At 1 month after MI, the frequency of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive myocytes in the remote myocardium was increased to a similar extent in WT and KO mice. At 4 months after MI, the frequency of apoptotic myocytes was increased in WT mice but not in KO mice (P<0.05 versus WT). Improved contractile function and reduced apoptosis were associated with reduced mortality rate in KO mice at 4 months after MI. Thus, NOS2 does not play an important role in determining infarct size or early LV remodeling during the first month after MI. In contrast, during late (ie, 4 months after MI) remodeling, NOS2 in remote myocardium contributes to decreased contractile function, increased myocyte apoptosis in remote myocardium, and reduced survival.