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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Basic Sciences/Regulatory Physiology: Original Investigations

Effects of clenbuterol on contractile and biochemical properties of skeletal muscle

DODD, STEPHEN L.; POWERS, SCOTT K.; VRABAS, IOANNIS S.; CRISWELL, DAVID; STETSON, SCOTT; HUSSAIN, RUBY

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Abstract

We investigated the effects of clenbuterol on the muscle mass, contractile properties, myosin phenotype, and bioenergetic enzyme activity in the gastrocnemius (GS)-plantaris (PL)-soleus (SO) muscle complex. Rats were sham-injected or treated with clenbuterol (2 mg·kg-1, subcutaneously) for 14 d. Clenbuterol increased (P < 0.05) body weight and muscle complex weight. Also, clenbuterol treatment resulted in an increase in total muscle force production and maximal shortening velocity(P < 0.05). No difference (P > 0.05) in relative force production (force·g-1 muscle) existed between experimental groups. However, muscle fatigue increased with clenbuterol treatment. Myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition was not altered in the GS or PL muscles, but shifted toward the fast Type II MHC in the SO. Myosin light chain (MLC) composition was not altered in any of the muscles. Clenbuterol caused a decrease in oxidative and glycolytic enzyme activity in the GS and PL, but not the SO. These data suggest that the clenbuterol-induced increase in muscle mass and maximal force generation is due to hypertrophy of both fast and slow fibers. Furthermore, these findings support the notion that beta-agonists may be beneficial in combating conditions that result in muscle wasting and dysfunction.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine

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