Cardiac stem cell-like populations exist in adult hearts, and their roles in cardiac repair remain to be defined. Sca-1 is an important surface marker for cardiac and other somatic stem cells. We hypothesized that heart-derived Sca-1(+)/CD31(-) cells may play a role in myocardial infarction-induced cardiac repair/remodeling. Mouse heart-derived Sca-1(+)/CD31(-) cells cultured in vitro could be induced to express both endothelial cell and cardiomyocyte markers. Immunofluorescence staining and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis indicated that endogenous Sca-1(+)/CD31(-) cells were significantly increased in the mouse heart 7 days after myocardial infarction (MI). Western blotting confirmed elevated Sca-1 protein expression in myocardium 7 days after MI. Transplantation of Sca-1(+)/CD31(-) cells into the acutely infarcted mouse heart attenuated the functional decline and adverse structural remodeling initiated by MI as evidenced by an increased left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction, a decreased LV end-diastolic dimension, a decreased LV end-systolic dimension, a significant increase of myocardial neovascularization, and modest cardiomyocyte regeneration. Attenuation of LV remodeling was accompanied by remarkably improved myocardial bioenergetic characteristics. The beneficial effects of cell transplantation appear to primarily depend on paracrine effects of the transplanted cells on new vessel formation and native cardiomyocyte function. Sca-1(+)/CD31(-) cells may hold therapeutic possibilities with regard to the treatment of ischemic heart disease.