eCite Digital Repository

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


Jessen, S and Solheim, SA and Jacobson, GA and Eibye, K and Bangsbo, J and Nordsborg, NB and Hostrup, M, Beta2 -adrenergic agonist clenbuterol increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and induces mTOR phosphorylation in skeletal muscle of young healthy men, Drug Testing and Analysis, 12, (5) pp. 610-618. ISSN 1942-7603 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1002/dta.2755


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:beta2-agonist, muscle doping, clenbuterol, anabolic, muscle hypertrophy
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Jacobson, GA (Professor Glenn Jacobson)
ID Code:138843
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2020-05-01
Last Modified:2020-06-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page