1. The effects of racemic R,S-salbutamol, and its individual enantiomers have been studied on incompletely fused (sub-tetanic) contractile responses of fast- and slow-contracting isolated skeletal muscles of the guinea-pig. 2. R,S-salbutamol (2-4 microM) decreased the peak force of sub-tetani in the slow-contracting soleus muscle and increased the peak force of sub-tetani in the fast-contracting peroneus longus muscle. It also increased the force of the first twitch of sub-tetani in both muscles. The decrease in the peak force of sub-tetani in the soleus muscle was due to defusion of the individual twitches caused by a shortening of their time course. 3. The effects of 4 microM of the racemate on both fast- and slow-contracting muscles were mimicked by 2 microM R-salbutamol (levalbuterol). However, 2 microM S-salbutamol was devoid of activity in both muscles. 4. We concluded that all the effects of R,S-salbutamol on guinea-pig skeletal muscles are due to the activity of the R-enantiomer. Thus there is a common enantiomeric profile for the skeletal muscle and bronchorelaxant activity of the compound.