Transgenic overexpression of Gαq in the heart triggers events leading to a phenotype of eccentric hypertrophy, depressed ventricular function, marked expression of hypertrophy-associated genes, and depressed β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) function. The role of βAR dysfunction in the development of this failure phenotype was delineated by transgenic coexpression of the carboxyl terminus of the βAR kinase (βARK), which acts to inhibit the kinase, or concomitant overexpression of the β2AR at low (≈30-fold, Gαq/β2ARL), moderate (≈140-fold, Gαq/β2ARM), and high (≈1,000-fold, Gαq/β2ARH) levels above background βAR density. Expression of the βARK inhibitor had no effect on the phenotype, consistent with the lack of increased βARK levels in Gαq mice. In marked contrast, Gαq/β2ARL mice displayed rescue of hypertrophy and resting ventricular function and decreased cardiac expression of atrial natriuretic factor and α-skeletal actin mRNA. These effects occurred in the absence of any improvement in basal or agonist-stimulated adenylyl cyclase (AC) activities in crude cardiac membranes, although restoration of a compartmentalized β2AR/AC signal cannot be excluded. Higher expression of receptors in Gαq/β2ARM mice resulted in salvage of AC activity, but hypertrophy, ventricular function, and expression of fetal genes were unaffected or worsened. With ≈1,000-fold overexpression, the majority of Gαq/β2ARH mice died with cardiomegaly at 5 weeks. Thus, although it appears that excessive, uncontrolled, or generalized augmentation of βAR signaling is deleterious in heart failure, selective enhancement by overexpressing the β2AR subtype to limited levels restores not only ventricular function but also reverses cardiac hypertrophy.