Inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is beneficial in patient management after myocardial infarction (MI). However, whether RAS inhibition also provides cardiac protection in the acute phase of MI is unclear.Male 129sv mice underwent coronary artery occlusion to induce MI, followed by treatment with losartan (L, 20 and 60 mg/kg), perindopril (P, 2 and 6 mg/kg), amlodipine (20 mg/kg as a BP-lowering agent) or vehicle as control. Drug effects on hemodynamics were examined. Effects of treatments on incidence of cardiac rupture, haematological profile, monocyte and neutrophil population in the spleen and the heart, cardiac leukocyte density, expression of inflammatory genes and activity of MMPs were studied after MI.Incidence of cardiac rupture within 2 weeks was significantly and similarly reduced by both losartan (L) and perindopril (P) in a dose-dependent manner [75% (27/36) in vehicle, 40-45% in low-dose (L 10/22, P 8/20) and 16-20% (L 5/32, P 4/20) in high-dose groups, all P < 0.05]. This action was independent of their BP-lowering action, as amlodipine reduced BP to a similar degree without effect on rupture (70%, 21/30). Compared to the control group, high dose losartan and perindopril decreased counts of white blood cells, neutrophils and lymphocytes (all P < 0.05), and inhibited splenic monocyte and neutrophil release into the circulation. Consequently, monocyte, neutrophil and leukocyte infiltration, inflammatory gene expressions (IL-1β, IL-6, MMP9, MCP-1, TNF-α and TGFβ1) and activity of MMP2 and MMP9 in the infarct tissue were attenuated by losartan and/or perindopril treatment (all P < 0.05).RAS inhibition by losartan or perindopril prevented cardiac rupture at the acute phase of MI through blockade of splenic release of monocytes and neutrophils and consequently attenuation of systemic and regional inflammatory responses.