Our recent studies utilizing an in vivo regional ischemia model revealed no changes in the subcellular distribution of protein kinase C (PKC) in dog and rabbit hearts after repeated 5 min episodes of preconditioning ischemia/reperfusion. However, 10 min of sustained ischemia resulted in an increase in PKC activity in the membrane fraction. These findings indicate that prolonged ischemia may cause changes in the subcellular distribution of PKC. However, the detailed time course of these changes during sustained severe ischemia is poorly resolved. Thus, our objective was to study temporal changes in PKC distribution in the cytosolic, nuclear, and membrane fractions isolated from globally ischemic rabbit heart. Hearts were removed under deep anesthesia, placed into normal saline at 37°C, and repeatedly sampled from apex to base at baseline, 2, 5, and 10 min into global ischemia, with matched samples obtained in every heart. PKC activity was increased at 2 min into global ischemia in both the nuclear fraction (1069±75 vs 893±49 pmol/min/g at baseline; p=0.05) and the membrane fraction (1374±95 vs 1187±59 pmol/min/g at baseline; p<0.05) with persistent translocation observed at 5 and 10 min into the protocol. Thus, direct biochemical determination of PKC activity in the isolated rabbit heart revealed increased activity in the nuclear and the membrane fractions as early as 2 min into global ischemia.