Fibroblast growth factor 21 is an endocrine factor, secreted mainly by the liver, that exerts metabolic actions that favour glucose metabolism. Its role in the heart is unknown. Here we show that Fgf21(-/-) mice exhibit an increased relative heart weight and develop enhanced signs of dilatation and cardiac dysfunction in response to isoproterenol infusion, indicating eccentric hypertrophy development. In addition, Fgf21(-/-) mice exhibit enhanced induction of cardiac hypertrophy markers and pro-inflammatory pathways and show greater repression of fatty acid oxidation. Most of these alterations are already present in Fgf21(-/-) neonates, and treatment with fibroblast growth factor 21 reverses them in vivo and in cultured cardiomyocytes. Moreover, fibroblast growth factor 21 is expressed in the heart and is released by cardiomyocytes. Fibroblast growth factor 21 released by cardiomyocytes protects cardiac cells against hypertrophic insults. Therefore, the heart appears to be a target of systemic, and possibly locally generated, fibroblast growth factor 21, which exerts a protective action against cardiac hypertrophy.