Sodium butyrate (NaBu) has been used to enhance protein expression levels in mammalian cell culture. To determine the clonal variability of recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (rCHO) cells in response to NaBu addition regarding specific antibody productivity (q(Ab)), three rCHO clones were subjected to different concentrations of NaBu. For all three clones, NaBu addition inhibited cell growth and decreased cell viability in a dose-dependent manner. On the other hand, the enhancing effect of NaBu on q(Ab) varied significantly among the clones. NaBu addition enhanced the antibody production of only one clone. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the changes in q(Ab) correlated linearly with those of the mRNA transcription level. Thus, it was concluded that the different enhancing effects of NaBu on protein expression in rCHO cell clones resulted from their different mRNA transcription levels.