Based on its anabolic properties, treatment with the β2-adrenoceptor agonist, clenbuterol, has been proposed as a strategy for ameliorating the symptoms of muscular dystrophy. In the dystrophic mdx mouse, only the diaphragm muscle exhibits progressive and severe degeneration in muscle structure and function similar to that observed in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We tested the hypothesis that 20 weeks of clenbuterol treatment (∼1.5-2 mg kg-1day-1) would increase the force and power output of diaphragm muscle strips of 6-month-old mdx and control mice. At this age, the diaphragm muscles of mdx mice show extensive degeneration and impaired contractility compared with control mice. Clenbuterol treatment did not increase the normalized force or power output of diaphragm strips from either mdx or control mice. The degeneration and necrosis within the diaphragm muscle of mdx mice was also not ameliorated by clenbuterol treatment. The results indicate that clenbuterol treatment does not improve the structure or function of diaphragm muscles from mdx mice. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
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