Carvedilol is a β-adrenoceptor antagonist with multiple actions, which may contribute to superior cardioprotection in heart failure and myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that carvedilol may modulate presynaptic norepinephrine release in the heart. Therefore, we compared the effects of carvedilol (racemate and both enantiomers) and β1-selective as well as nonselective β-adrenoceptor blockers on norepinephrine release in isolated perfused rat hearts under normoxic and brief ischemic conditions. Exocytotic release of endogenous norepinephrine was induced by paired electric field stimulations to compare the release before (S1) and after (S2) β- adrenoceptor blocker application. Metoprolol, bisoprolol, and pindolol (0.1- 10 μM) had essentially no effect on exocytotic norepinephrine release under normoxic and ischemic conditions. In contrast, carvedilol exerted a biphasic concentration-response curve (increase followed by suppression) on norepinephrine release. The increase in norepinephrine release was more pronounced with R-carvedilol than with S-carvedilol, indicating an effect independent from β-receptor antagonism. During ischemia, the facilitatory effect of carvedilol on norepinephrine release was lost, resulting in a concentration-dependent suppression of the release. These results indicate that carvedilol in contrast to classic β1-selective and -nonselective β- adrenoceptor blockers has pronounced effects on cardiac norepinephrine release with a remarkable difference between normoxic and ischemic conditions. Whereas a facilitation of norepinephrine release prevailed in normoxia, we observed a suppression of the release in ischemia. It remains to be established whether this unique action of carvedilol on cardiac sympathetic neurotransmission is of clinical relevance.