Studies from our lab have shown that decreasing myocardial G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) activity and expression can prevent heart failure progression after myocardial infarction. Since GRK2 appears to also act as a pro-death kinase in myocytes, we investigated the effect of cardiomyocyte-specific GRK2 ablation on the acute response to cardiac ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. To do this we utilized two independent lines of GRK2 knockout (KO) mice where the GRK2 gene was deleted in only cardiomyocytes either constitutively at birth or in an inducible manner that occurred in adult mice prior to I/R. These GRK2 KO mice and appropriate control mice were subjected to a sham procedure or 30 min of myocardial ischemia via coronary artery ligation followed by 24 hrs reperfusion. Echocardiography and hemodynamic measurements showed significantly improved post-I/R cardiac function in both GRK2 KO lines, which correlated with smaller infarct sizes in GRK2 KO mice compared to controls. Moreover, there was significantly less TUNEL positive myocytes, less caspase-3, and -9 but not caspase-8 activities in GRK2 KO mice compared to control mice after I/R injury. Of note, we found that lowering cardiac GRK2 expression was associated with significantly lower cytosolic cytochrome C levels in both lines of GRK2 KO mice after I/R compared to corresponding control animals. Mechanistically, the anti-apoptotic effects of lowering GRK2 expression were accompanied by increased levels of Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and increased activation of Akt after I/R injury. These findings were reproduced in vitro in cultured cardiomyocytes and GRK2 mRNA silencing. Therefore, lowering GRK2 expression in cardiomyocytes limits I/R-induced injury and improves post-ischemia recovery by decreasing myocyte apoptosis at least partially via Akt/Bcl-2 mediated mitochondrial protection and implicates mitochondrial-dependent actions, solidifying GRK2 as a pro-death kinase in the heart.