We examined whether cellular antioxidant-defence enhancement preserves diastolic dysfunction via regulation of both diastolic intracellular free Zn2+ and Ca2+ levels (Zn 2 + i and Ca 2 + i) levels N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) treatment (4 weeks) of diabetic rats preserved altered cellular redox state and also prevented diabetes-induced tissue damage and diastolic dysfunction with marked normalizations in the resting Zn 2 + i and Ca 2 + i. The kinetic parameters of transient changes in Zn2+ and Ca2+ under electrical stimulation and the spatiotemporal properties of Zn2+ and Ca2+ sparks in resting cells are found to be normal in the treated diabetic group. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that the NAC treatment also antagonized hyperphosphorylation of cardiac ryanodine receptors (RyR2) and significantly restored depleted protein levels of both RyR2 and calstabin2. Incubation of cardiomyocytes with 10 μM ZnCl2 exerted hyperphosphorylation in RyR2 as well as higher phosphorphorylations in both PKA and CaMKII in a concentration-dependent manner, similar to hyperglycemia. Our present data also showed that a subcellular oxidative stress marker, NF-B, can be activated if the cells are exposed directly to Zn 2+. We thus for the first time report that an enhancement of antioxidant defence in diabetics via directly targeting heart seems to prevent diastolic dysfunction due to modulation of RyR2 macromolecular-complex thereby leading to normalized [Ca2+]i and [Zn2+] i in cardiomyocytes. © 2014 Erkan Tuncay et al.