Metabolomic investigation of porcine muscle and fatty tissue after Clenbuterol treatment using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

J Chromatogr A. 2016 Jul 22;1456:242-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2016.06.017. Epub 2016 Jun 6.


Clenbuterol is a β-adrenergic agonist used as additive to increase the muscle mass of meat-producing animals. Previous studies were limited to evaluations of animal growth performance and determination of the residues. Several studies have focused on urine samples. Little information about the underlying molecular mechanisms that can explain Clenbuterol metabolism and promote energy repartition in animal muscle and fatty tissue is available. Therefore, this research aims to detect the metabolite variations in muscle and fatty tissue acquired from Chinese pigs fed with Clenbuterol using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Ten two-month old Enshi black pigs were fed under the same condition; five of which were fed with basic ration containing Clenbuterol for one month, whereas the other five pigs were fed only with basic ration. Muscle and fatty tissue were subjected to metabolomics analysis using GC/MS. Differences in metabolomic profiles between the two groups were characterized by multivariate statistical analysis. The muscle samples showed that 15 metabolites were significantly different in the Clenbuterol-treated group compared with the control group; 13 potential biomarkers were found in the fatty tissue. Most of the metabolites were associated with fatty acid metabolism and amino acid metabolism. Glycerol, phenylalanine, and leucine were the common metabolites between the muscle and fatty tissue. These metabolites may provide a new clue that contributes to the understanding of the energy reassignment induced by Clenbuterol.

Keywords: Clenbuterol; Fatty tissue; Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry; Metabolomic; Muscle tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / chemistry*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Clenbuterol / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Swine


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids
  • Clenbuterol