In rabbits, arterial hypertension was simulated according to Goldblatt. One, 2, 4, and 6 weeks after surgery, the hearts of control and experimental animals were extirpated for morphological examination. In semithin sections of the left and right ventricles, morphometry was performed using an Avtandilov grid. Ultrathin sections of these organs were examined under an electron microscope. It was found that the initial signs of myocardial hypertrophy appeared soon after hypertension modeling, and more early in the right ventricle. Activation of apoptosis was noted in cardiomyocytes of both ventricles, and its intensity correlated with the degree of myocardial hypertrophy. It is hypothesized that apoptosis limits the development of hypertrophy in the myocardium. © 2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation.