Phytoecdysteroids have been attributed with numerous pharmacological properties in animals, including increasing muscle mass, and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) is one of the most abundant phytoecdysteroids produced by plants. In this study, the physiological and gene expression effects of 20E were analyzed in C57BL/6 mice given a continuous infusion of saline or 20E (5 mg/kg/day) for 5 or 15 days using subcutaneously implanted Alzet® osmotic pumps. The masses of the total body, muscle groups and organs were determined. There was a significant increase ( p = 0.01) in the mass of triceps brachii in mice treated with 20E for 5 days (115 ± 8 mg) compared with mice treated with saline for 5 days (88 ± 3 mg), however, there were no differences in the other measured parameters. To determine potential mechanisms of 20E in skeletal muscle, Illumina's Mouse Whole Genome-6 v2.0 Expression BeadChips were used to evaluate changes in gene expression of the triceps brachii after 20E infusion. Ingenuity Pathways Analysis was used to identify genes with the most evidence for differential expression, of which, 16 genes involved in the skeletal and muscular system were identified. Overall, the data suggest that 20E does not have potent anabolic properties, however, a muscle-specific increase was observed and genes were identified to provide an explanation for the muscle accretion. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.