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Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is a debilitating condition characterized by recurrent occlusions of the pharyngeal airway during sleep accompanied by arterial hypoxaemia. Upper airway muscle dysfunction is implicated in the pathophysiology of OSAS. Pharmacological agents that improve muscle contractile and endurance properties may have therapeutic value.We tested the hypothesis that theβ2-adrenoceptor agonist terbutaline improves rat sternohyoid muscle performance especially during hypoxic stress.Isometric contractile and endurance properties were examinedex vivoin Krebs solution at 35°C. Muscles were incubated in tissue baths under hyperoxic (95% O2/5% CO2) conditions in the absence (control) or presence of theβ2-adrenoceptor agonist terbutaline (1μM). In additional experiments under hypoxic (95% N2/5% CO2) conditions, the effects of terbutaline were examined in the presence of theβ-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol (1μM).Hypoxia significantly impaired sternohyoid force production. Terbutaline completely recovered hypoxic depression of force, an effect that was blocked by co-application with propranolol.Theβ2-adrenoceptor agonist terbutaline completely recovers hypoxic depression of upper airway muscle force.β2-adrenoceptor agonists warrant investigation in animal models of OSAS reporting upper airway and diaphragm muscle dysfunction.