Synthesis of transmembrane and secretory proteins occurs within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and is extremely important in the normal functioning of both the heart and kidney. The dysregulation of protein synthesis/processing within the ER causes the accumulation of unfolded proteins, thereby leading to ER stress and the activation of the unfolded protein response. Sarcoplasmic reticulum/ER Ca 2+ disequilibrium can lead to cardiac hypertrophy via cytosolic Ca 2+ elevation and stimulation of the Ca 2+ /calmodulin, calcineurin, NF-AT3 pathway. Although cardiac hypertrophy may be initially adaptive, prolonged or severe ER stress resulting from the increased protein synthesis associated with cardiac hypertrophy can lead to apoptosis of cardiac myocytes and result in reduced cardiac output and chronic heart failure. The failing heart has a dramatic effect on renal function because of inadequate perfusion and stimulates the release of many neurohumoral factors that may lead to further ER stress within the heart, including angiotensin II and arginine–vasopressin. Renal failure attributable to proteinuria and uremia also induces ER stress within the kidney, which contributes to the transformation of tubular epithelial cells to a fibroblast-like phenotype, fibrosis, and tubular cell apoptosis, further diminishing renal function. As a consequence, cardiorenal syndrome may develop into a vicious circle with poor prognosis. New therapeutic modalities to alleviate ER stress through stimulation of the cytoprotective components of the unfolded protein response, including GRP78 upregulation and eukaryotic initiation factor 2α phosphorylation, may hold promise to reduce the high morbidity and mortality associated with cardiorenal syndrome.