Numerous studies demonstrated increased expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and activation of focal adhesion (FA) signaling pathways in models of pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy. However, little is known about FA signaling in response to volume overload where cardiac hypertrophy is associated with ECM loss. This study examines the role of beta1-adrenergic receptors (β 1-ARs) in FA signaling changes and myocyte apoptosis induced during acute hemodynamic stress of volume overload. Rats with eccentric cardiac hypertrophy induced after aorto-caval fistula (ACF) develop reduced interstitial collagen content and decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of key FA signaling molecules FAK, Pyk 2 and paxillin along with an increase in cardiac myocyte apoptosis. ACF also increased activation of PTEN, a dual lipid and protein phosphatase, and its interaction with FA proteins. β 1-AR blockade (extended-release of metoprolol succinate, 100mg QD) markedly attenuated PTEN activation, restored FA signaling and reduced myocyte apoptosis induced by ACF at 2days, but failed to reduce interstitial collagen loss and left ventricular dilatation. Treating cultured myocytes with β 1-AR agonists or adenoviral expression of β 1-ARs caused PTEN activation and interaction with FA proteins, thus leading to FA signaling downregulation and myocyte apoptosis. Adenoviral-mediated expression of a catalytically inactive PTEN mutant or wild-type FAK restored FA signaling downregulation and attenuated myocyte apoptosis induced by β 1-ARs. Collectively, these data show that β 1-AR stimulation in response to ACF induces FA signaling downregulation through an ECM-independent mechanism. This effect involves PTEN activation and may contribute to adverse cardiac remodeling and function in the course of volume overload. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.