Adrenergic receptors transduce signals through the G proteins to regulate cardiac function. The catecholamines, via alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptor (beta-AR) stimulation, may play a role in the development of heart failure. Norepinephrine and isoproterenol can induce cardiac myocyte apoptosis. Studies suggest that alpha-, beta1-, and beta2-adrenergic pathways differentially regulate cardiac myocyte apoptosis. The stimulation of beta1-AR leads to cyclic AMP-dependent apoptosis, whereas that of the beta2-AR elicits concurrent apoptosis and survival signals in cardiac myocytes coupled to Gs protein. Overexpression of alpha1-adrenergic receptors does not induce apoptosis in wild-type mice. In contrast, the heart failure observed in some murine models has to be related to an enhanced beta-AR kinase expression. These recent advances make it possible to understand the beneficial effects of beta-blockers in the treatment of chronic heart failure and provide novel therapeutic modalities through the stimulation of beta2-ARs or the inhibition of beta-AR kinase expression.