Mammalian cardiomyocytes have limited proliferation potential, and acutely injured mammalian hearts do not regenerate adequately. Instead, injured myocardium develops fibrosis and scarring. Here we show that FGF1/p38 MAP kinase inhibitor treatment after acute myocardial injury in 8- to 10-week-old rats increases cardiomyocyte mitosis. At 3 months after injury, 4 weeks of FGF1/p38 MAP kinase inhibitor therapy results in reduced scarring and wall thinning, with markedly improved cardiac function. In contrast, p38 MAP kinase inhibition alone fails to rescue heart function despite increased cardiomyocyte mitosis. FGF1 improves angiogenesis, possibly contributing to the survival of newly generated cardiomyocytes. Our data indicate that FGF1 and p38 MAP kinase, proteins involved in cardiomyocyte proliferation and angiogenesis during development, may be delivered therapeutically to enhance cardiac regeneration.