The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a selective β2-adrenoceptor agonist, clenbuterol, on body composition in tumour-bearing adult and growing mice. Therefore, adult female C57/BL6 mice (n = 20) were inoculated subcutaneously with a 3-methylcholanthrene-induced sarcoma and divided into two identical groups. One group received injections twice a day of clenbuterol corresponding to 1 mg/kg body weight, the other group received sham injections. Growing mice (n = 20) were similarly divided after tumour inoculation into one study group with clenbuterol injections and one control group. The growing animals were sacrificed on day 11 after commencement of treatment, the adult mice on day 16.

Clenbuterol treatment had no statistically significant effect on accumulated food intake or body composition in the adult mice. However, fooe intake in these animals increased numerically compared to control animals after day 12 of the study. Tumour growth was also unaffected. The growing animals displayed an increased carcass dry weight with borderline significance (p = 0.06) and an increased quadriceps muscle fat free dry weight after clenbuterol treatment. Tumour growth was not affected. Food intake measured on a daily basis was significantly increased in the growing clenbuterol treated animals and accumulated food intake was increased with a trend towards statistical significance (p = 0.06). The results support the suggestion that treatment with a selective β2-adrenoceptor agonist does not improve body composition in tumour-bearing adult mice relying on spontaneous food intake while growing animals may benefit from such treatment.

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