Illegal dietary supplementation with β2-agonists has been shown to increase protein deposition and decrease fat accretion in domestic animals. In poultry the metabolic and endocrine responses to β2-agonists are not fully elucidated. In this trial the effects of dietary clenbuterol (1 p.p.m.) and cimaterol (1 p.p.m.) on muscle composition and endocrine response of male broiler chickens were studied. Dietary clenbuterol induced a slight, but in general not significant, improvement of zootechnical performances and carcass yields. Chemical composition of muscle was not influenced by dietary treatments, even if a slight improvement of protein content was observed in treated groups. No effects on fatty acid composition of meat were detected. Both clenbuterol and cimaterol treatments caused a downregulation in testicular androgen receptors and in pulmonary, cardiac and central nervous system β-adrenergic receptors.