Pim-1 kinase exerts potent cardioprotective effects in the myocardium downstream of AKT, but the participation of Pim-1 in cardiac hypertrophy requires investigation. Cardiac-specific expression of Pim-1 (Pim-WT) or the dominant-negative mutant of Pim-1 (Pim-DN) in transgenic mice together with adenoviral-mediated overexpression of these Pim-1 constructs was used to delineate the role of Pim-1 in hypertrophy. Transgenic overexpression of Pim-1 protects mice from pressure-overload-induced hypertrophy relative to wild-type controls as evidenced by improved hemodynamic function, decreased apoptosis, increases in antihypertrophic proteins, smaller myocyte size, and inhibition of hypertrophic signaling after challenge. Similarly, Pim-1 overexpression in neonatal rat cardiomyocyte cultures inhibits hypertrophy induced by endothelin-1. On the cellular level, hearts of Pim-WT mice show enhanced incorporation of BrdU into myocytes and a hypercellular phenotype compared to wild-type controls after hypertrophic challenge. In comparison, transgenic overexpression of Pim-DN leads to dilated cardiomyopathy characterized by increased apoptosis, fibrosis, and severely depressed cardiac function. Furthermore, overexpression of Pim-DN leads to reduced contractility as evidenced by reduced Ca(2+) transient amplitude and decreased percentage of cell shortening in isolated myocytes. These data support a pivotal role for Pim-1 in modulation of hypertrophy by impacting responses on molecular, cellular, and organ levels.