In rats fed a normal (22% protein) diet, injection of clenbuterol (1 mg/kg/d for 21 d) did not affect energy intake, energy expenditure or weight gain, but reduced energetic efficiency, and fat and energy gains and increased body protein content. Presenting a low-protein (8%) diet reduced energy intake, gain and efficiency, body protein content and the mass of the gastrocnemius muscle when compared to rats fed the control diet. Injection of the protein-deficient rats with clenbuterol (1 mg/kg/d for 21 d) caused hypophagia and reduced body weight and energy gains, energy expenditure and total body fat. However, the total body content of protein was not significantly reduced and the percentage of body protein in this protein deficient, clenbuterol-treated group was greater than that of untreated rats on both the high- and low-protein diets. The ratio of body protein to fat following clenbuterol treatment was increased by over 50% in both normal and protein-deficient rats. The results show that in protein deficient animals, clenbuterol treatment may help conserve body protein at the expense of fat, resulting in a smaller, but leaner body mass.

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