Normal hearts have increased contractility in response to catecholamines. Because several lipids activate PKCs, we hypothesized that excess cellular lipids would inhibit cardiomyocyte responsiveness to adrenergic stimuli. Cardiomyocytes treated with saturated free fatty acids, ceramide, and diacylglycerol had reduced cellular cAMP response to isoproterenol. This was associated with increased PKC activation and reduction of β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) density. Pharmacological and genetic PKC inhibition prevented both palmitate-induced β-AR insensitivity and the accompanying reduction in cell surface β-ARs. Mice with excess lipid uptake due to either cardiac-specific overexpression of anchored lipoprotein lipase, PPARγ, or acyl-CoA synthetase-1 or high-fat diet showed reduced inotropic responsiveness to dobutamine. This was associated with activation of protein kinase C (PKC)α or PKCδ. Thus, several lipids that are increased in the setting of lipotoxicity can produce abnormalities in β-AR responsiveness. This can be attributed to PKC activation and reduced β-AR levels.