Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
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Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2015, 3(10), 670-674
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-3-10-9
Open AccessArticle

Potential Genitourinary Toxicity and Lithogenic Effect of Ractopamine

Wen-Chi Chen1, 2, Yu-Chi Wang3, Jui-Lung Shen4, 5, Huey-Yi Chen1, 2, Chiao-Hui Chang1, 2, Fuu-Jen Tsai1, 2, Wei-Yong Lin1, 2 and Yung-Hsiang Chen1, 6,

1Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, Research Center for Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan

2Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Research, and Urology, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan

3Department of Animal Science, Chinese Culture University, Taipei 11114, Taiwan

4Center for General Education, Feng Chia University, Taichung 40724, Taiwan

5Department of Dermatology, Taichung Veteran General Hospital, Taichung 40705, Taiwan

6Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Research, and Urology, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan;Department of Psychology, College of Medical and Health Science, Asia University, Taichung 41354, Taiwan

Pub. Date: December 29, 2015

Cite this paper:
Wen-Chi Chen, Yu-Chi Wang, Jui-Lung Shen, Huey-Yi Chen, Chiao-Hui Chang, Fuu-Jen Tsai, Wei-Yong Lin and Yung-Hsiang Chen. Potential Genitourinary Toxicity and Lithogenic Effect of Ractopamine. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2015; 3(10):670-674. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-3-10-9


Ractopamine is a β-adrenoreceptor agonist that excites sympathetic nerves. It has been used to increase cattle weight, for breeding, and to enhance muscle content in some countries. The concentration allowed in the environment is below 10 parts per billion (ppb). However, there are increasing concerns about the effect of long-term ractopamine on health. Our study aimed to investigate the potential effects of a “safe” dosage of ractopamine on urinary tract by using genitourinary cell cultures and our well-established translational model, Drosophila melanogaster. The results showed that ractopamine dose-dependently induces cytotoxicity in SV40 MES 13 and SV-HUC-1 cells. After 21 days of 10 ppb ractopamine administration, the rate of crystal formation in the ractopamine group significantly increased. We also found that long-term administration of ractopamine to flies decreases their climbing ability and shortens their lifespan. Overall, the long-term effects of ractopamine on the urinary tract system were evident in our cell and animal studies. In particular, renal mesangial and urothelial cells are more susceptible to damage; urolithiasis and neurological damage are other possible side effects of ractopamine. These effects on the human urinary tract should be further investigated.

climbing ability drosophila genitourinary cells ractopamine urolithiasis

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