Beta2-agonist clenbuterol induced changes in the distribution of white blood cells in rats

J Pharmacol Sci. 2007 Jun;104(2):146-52. doi: 10.1254/jphs.fp0070267. Epub 2007 Jun 8.


Clenbuterol [CLE: 4-amino-alpha(t-butyl-amino)methyl-3,5-dichlorobenzyl alcohol] is well known as a potent beta2-adrenergic agonist and non-steroidal anabolic drug, and thus it is generally used for sports doping and asthma therapy. Although the functions of immune cells such as white blood cells (WBCs) have shown to be modulated through beta2-adrenoceptors, the effects of CLE on immune-responsive systems have not been elucidated systematically. Therefore, the effects of CLE on the number of WBCs were studied in rats. Male adult rats were divided into CLE-administered group and the control group to compare the number of total WBCs, neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. The administration (dose = 1.0 mg . kg(-1) body weight . day(-1), s.c.) of CLE was maintained for 30 days. CLE did not change the number of total WBCs during the experimental period. However, CLE increased significantly the number of neutrophils and monocytes, while CLE decreased drastically the number of lymphocytes and eosinophils. There was no significant change in the number of basophils between both groups. These results suggest that the administration of CLE induces drastic redistribution of WBCs in circulation without changing the number of total WBCs, and these responses of WBCs during the administration of CLE are sustained for at least 30 days.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Clenbuterol / pharmacology*
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Hemoglobins / drug effects
  • Leukocyte Count*
  • Leukocytes / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Hemoglobins
  • Clenbuterol