Beneficial versus adverse effects of long‐term use of clenbuterol in mdx mice

Esther E. Dupont‐Versteegden, Michael S. Katz, Roger J. McCarter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Long‐term administration of the β2‐adrenergic agonist clenbuterol in mdx mice was used to test the hypothesis that increasing contractile protein content in skeletal muscle will decrease the progression of muscular dystrophy. C57BL/10SNJ (control) and dystrophic (mdx) mice were given clenbuterol (1.0–1.5 mg/kg body weight/day) in the drinking water. Ventilatory function and morphological and functional characteristics of soleus (SOL) and diaphragm (DIA) muscles were evaluated. Clenbuterol administration was associated with increased SOL muscle weight, and SOL muscle weight to body weight ratio in control and mdx mice at both ages. There was a 22% increase in myosin concentration of mdx DIA at 1 year of age, correlating well with increased normalized active tension in mdx DIA at this age. Also, absolute tetanic tension increased in control and mdx SOL with clenbuterol at both ages. Ventilatory function was significantly impaired in mdx mice at both ages and clenbuterol administration did not alleviate this. Clenbuterol treatment was associated with a 30–40% increase in fatigability in DIA and SOL muscles of control and mdx mice at both ages. Furthermore, 1‐year‐old mdx mice receiving clenbuterol exhibited deformities in hindlimbs and spine. These results suggest that long‐term clenbuterol treatment has a positive effect on muscle growth and force generation, but has adverse side effects such as increased muscle fatigability and development of deformities. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1447-1459
Number of pages13
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • clenbuterol
  • mdx mouse
  • muscular dystrophy
  • skeletal muscle
  • ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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