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Beta2-adrenergic agonist clenbuterol increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and induces mTOR phosphorylation in skeletal muscle of young healthy men

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Clenbuterol is a beta2-adrenoceptor agonist marketed as an asthma reliever but is not approved for human use in most countries due to concerns of adverse cardiac effects. Given its demonstrated hypertrophic and lipolytic actions in rodents, clenbuterol is one of the most widely abused doping substances amongt athletes and recreational body-builders seeking leanness. Herein, we examined the effect of clenbuterol ingestion on metabolic rate as well as skeletal muscle mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) phosphorylation and protein kinase A (PKA)-signaling in six young men. Before and 140 min after ingestion of 80 μg clenbuterol, resting metabolic rate and contractile function of the quadriceps muscle were measured, and blood samples as well as vastus lateralis muscle biopsies were collected. Clenbuterol increased resting energy expenditure by 21% (P < 0.001), and fat oxidation by 39% (P = 0.006), whereas carbohydrate oxidation was unchanged. Phosphorylation of mTORSer2448 and PKA substrates increased by 121% (P = 0.004) and 35% (P = 0.006), respectively, with clenbuterol. Maximal voluntary contraction torque decreased by 4% (P = 0.026) and the half-relaxation time shortened by 9% (P = 0.046), while voluntary activation, time to peak twitch, and peak twitch torque did not change significantly with clenbuterol. Glycogen content of the vastus lateralis muscle did not change with clenbuterol. Clenbuterol increased circulating levels of glucose (+30%; P < 0.001), lactate (+90%; P = 0.004), insulin (+130%; P = 0.009), and fatty acids (+180%; P = 0.001). Collectively, these findings indicate that clenbuterol is an efficient thermogenic substance that possibly also exerts muscle hypertrophic actions in humans. For these reasons, the restrictions imposed against clenbuterol in competitive sports seem warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Volume12
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)610-618
Number of pages9
ISSN1942-7603
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Doping, WADA, Muscle hypertrophy, Muscle growth, Anabolic

ID: 237471275