Effects of co-administration of clenbuterol and testosterone propionate on skeletal muscle in paraplegic mice

J Neurotrauma. 2010 Jun;27(6):1129-42. doi: 10.1089/neu.2009.1211.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is generally associated with a rapid and significant decrease in muscle mass and corresponding changes in skeletal muscle properties. Although beta(2)-adrenergic and androgen receptor agonists are anabolic substances clearly shown to prevent or reverse muscle wasting in some pathological conditions, their effects in SCI patients remain largely unknown. Here we studied the effects of clenbuterol and testosterone propionate administered separately or in combination on skeletal muscle properties and adipose tissue in adult CD1 mice spinal-cord-transected (Tx) at the low-thoracic level (i.e., induced complete paraplegia). Administered shortly post-Tx, these substances were found to differentially reduce loss in body weight, muscle mass, and muscle fiber cross-sectional area (CSA) values. Although all three treatments induced significant effects, testosterone-treated animals were generally less protected against Tx-related changes. However, none of the treatments prevented fat tissue loss or muscle fiber type conversion and functional loss generally found in Tx animals. These results provide evidence suggesting that clenbuterol alone or combined with testosterone may constitute better clinically-relevant treatments than testosterone alone to decrease muscle atrophy (mass and fiber CSA) in SCI subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Androgens / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Clenbuterol / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Paraplegia / metabolism*
  • Paraplegia / pathology
  • Polyenes
  • Random Allocation
  • Testosterone Propionate / pharmacology*


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Androgens
  • Polyenes
  • abkhazomycin
  • Myosin Heavy Chains
  • Testosterone Propionate
  • Clenbuterol