Clenbuterol induces expression of multiple myosin heavy chain isoforms in rat soleus fibres.Acta Physiol Scand. 2002 Dec; 176(4):311-8.AP
Clenbuterol, a beta2-agonist, administration results in hypertrophy of fast fibres and an increase in the fast myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition of both fast and slow muscles. The present study was designed to determine the phenotypic response at the single fibre level. Clenbuterol was added to the drinking water (30 mg L(-1)) of adult male Wistar rats for 4 weeks. Single fibres from the soleus muscle of control (10 rats; 555 fibres) and clenbuterol-treated (10 rats; 577 fibres) were dissected and their MHC isoform composition was determined using sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis. Body, heart, and soleus weights were 9, 24, and 27% higher in clenbuterol-treated than control rats. The mean cross-sectional areas of fast and slow/fast hybrid fibres were approximately 64 and approximately 74% larger in the clenbuterol-treated than control rats, whereas the size of the slow fibres were similar in the two groups. Fibres from control soleus showed three MHC patterns: pure type I (84%), pure type IIa (4%), and type I + IIa (12%) MHC. Some fibres from clenbuterol-treated soleus showed a de novo expression of type IIx MHC resulting in the following fibre type proportions: pure type I (62%), pure type IIa (2%), type I + IIa (26%), type I + IIa + IIx (6%), and type IIa + IIx (1%). In those fibres containing multiple MHCs, there was a shift towards the faster MHC isoforms after clenbuterol treatment. These data indicate that clenbuterol results in muscle fibre hypertrophy, stimulates a de novo expression of type IIx MHC and increases the percentage of fibres containing multiple MHC isoforms in the rat soleus muscle. These phenotypic changes at the single fibre level are consistent with a clenbuterol-related shift in the functional properties of the soleus towards those observed in a faster muscle.