Matrix metalloproteinase enzymes (MMPs) activated by oxidative stress are involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. Glutathione (GSH) plays an important protective role against oxidatively induced damage in mammalian tissues. We investigated the possible role of gelatinases and the effect of the semiessential amino acid 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid (taurine) in oxidatively induced damage by GSH depletion in rabbit cardiac tissues. Rabbits were treated with buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), an effective GSH-depleting compound. BSO treatment significantly reduced GSH and increased MDA (malondialdehyde) levels. BSO treatment caused significant increase in proMMP-2 levels. MMP-9 (pro and active) expressions were not found in either treated- or untreated heart tissues. TIMP-1(endogenous inhibitor of MMP-9) and MT-MMP1 (endogenous activator of MMP-2) were not affected by BSO. Immunoscoring showed that MMP-2 expression significantly increased in hearts from BSO treated group but MMP-9 antibody did not show any significant positive immunostaining from all groups. Type I procollagen and total collagen did not significantly alter in heart tissues from all treatment groups. Taurine restored the increased MDA and the diminished GSH levels by BSO treatment. Pro MMP-2 expression was prevented by taurine. These results suggest that MMP-2 is a major gelanitase in rabbit hearts under oxidative stress and pharmacological inhibition of MMP-2 activation by taurine could represent a useful strategy for the prevention and/or treatment of different cardiovascular disorders. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.