Muscle wasting associated with endotoxemia in the rat: modification by the beta 2-adrenoceptor agonist clenbuterol

Biosci Rep. 1989 Oct;9(5):615-21. doi: 10.1007/BF01119805.


A single injection of endotoxin (1 mg/kg, sc) in rats caused significant fever, body weight loss and reduction in gastrocnemius muscle mass, none of which was mimicked by pair-feeding. Infusion of endotoxin via osmotic minipump over five days caused transient fever and suppression of growth. Recovery of body weight was significantly enhanced by the administration of the beta 2-adrenoceptor agonist clenbuterol (added to the diet at 4 mg/kg). In a separate experiment, injections of endotoxin (day 0 and day 2) caused significant reductions in body weight gain (42%), mass (9%) and protein content (13%) of gastrocnemius muscle over 3 days. Addition of clenbuterol to the diet reversed all of these effects but did not alter food intake or the febrile response to endotoxin. Clenbuterol caused large (20%) increases in the ratio of RNA to protein in muscle indicating that it may have stimulated protein synthesis. beta 2-adrenoceptor agonists may therefore be of value in preventing or inhibiting muscle atrophy associated with infection or injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Clenbuterol / therapeutic use*
  • Endotoxins / toxicity
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Muscular Atrophy / drug therapy*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Toxemia / complications*


  • Endotoxins
  • Ethanolamines
  • Clenbuterol