Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), which is encoded by an adaptive-response gene induced by various stimuli, plays an important role in the cardiovascular system. However, the effect of ATF3 on cardiac hypertrophy induced by a pathological stimulus has not been determined. Here, we investigated the effects of ATF3 deficiency on cardiac hypertrophy using in vitro and in vivo models. Aortic banding (AB) was performed to induce cardiac hypertrophy in mice. Cardiac hypertrophy was estimated by echocardiographic and hemodynamic measurements and by pathological and molecular analysis. ATF3 deficiency promoted cardiac hypertrophy, dysfunction and fibrosis after 4 weeks of AB compared to the wild type (WT) mice. Furthermore, enhanced activation of the MEK-ERK1/2 and JNK pathways was found in ATF3-knockout (KO) mice compared to WT mice. In vitro studies performed in cultured neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes confirmed that ATF3 deficiency promotes cardiomyocyte hypertrophy induced by angiotensin II, which was associated with the amplification of MEK-ERK1/2 and JNK signaling. Our results suggested that ATF3 plays a crucial role in the development of cardiac hypertrophy via negative regulation of the MEK-ERK1/2 and JNK pathways.