[en] Despite the apparent redundancy of NOS isoforms in the myocardium, subcellular compartmentation dictates specific NO signaling from each isoform to colocalized effectors in response to physical (e.g. stretch) or receptor-mediated stimuli. Genetic deletion or overexpression experiments helped to characterize each isoform's respective role in the normal or diseased heart. eNOS and nNOS both contribute to sustain normal EC coupling and contribute to the early and late phases of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart. They also negatively modulate the beta1-/beta2-adrenergic increase in inotropy and chronotropy, and reinforce the (pre- and post-synaptic) vagal control of cardiac contraction, thereby protecting the heart against excessive stimulation by catecholamines. In the ischemic and failing myocardium, iNOS expression is induced and further contributes to attenuate the inotropic effect of catecholamines, as does eNOS coupled to overexpressed beta3-adrenoceptors. nNOS expression also increases in the aging and ischemic heart, but its role (compensatory or deleterious) remains to be defined. Many drugs currently used for the treatment of ischemic or failing cardiac diseases also activate and/or upregulate eNOS in the myocardium, which supports its proposed protective role, e.g. as "endogenous beta-blocker". Future pharmacologic modulation of the cardiac NOS will have to take into account their specific modulation of the various aspects of cardiac function, if one hopes to deliver more targeted and efficient therapy than currently achieved with exogenous NO donors.