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Effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid use on hippocampus and cortex: A controlled study of the anabolic-androgenic steroids testosterone, nandrolone, trenbolone and stanozolol in primary neuronal cultures.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) have long been used to improve muscularity and athletic performance. Although several side-effects such as depression, anxiety, aggression and memory deficits have been reported, the effect of AAS on the brain is still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate how different AAS affect neurons by monitoring neurite outgrowth (NO) and cell viability in primary neuronal cultures following exposure to various AAS. Primary cells isolated from the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of embryonic day 17 Sprague Dawley rats were treated with five concentrations of AAS over four days. The steroids tested in this study were testosterone, nandrolone, trenbolone and stanozolol. To analyse NO, immunocytochemistry was performed and the length of neurites was measured. Cell viability was analysed using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, a measure of mitochondrial function. Results showed that a four-day treatment with testosterone significantly increased NO in prefrontal cortical cells. Nandrolone and trenbolone also induced an increase, however, stanozolol decreased NO at concentrations above 1 µM. Results using hippocampal cells showed a similar trend, but NO was less affected by the treatment regime. All four AAS decreased cell viability in both hippocampal and prefrontal cortical cells at concentrations above 1 µM. In conclusion, these results indicate that high concentrations of AAS negatively impact on the growth and viability of neurons isolated from the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, regions of the brain associated with learning and memory. These affects could potentially induce cognitive impairments and need to be further elucidated in future studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 21 p.
Keyword [en]
Anabolic androgenic steroids, nandrolone, testosterone, trenbolone, stanozolol, neuronal damage, primary cell cultures, cognitive deficits, substance abuse
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-242549OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-242549DiVA: diva2:783867
Subject / course
Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Educational program
Master of Science Programme in Pharmacy
Available from: 2015-02-02 Created: 2015-01-27 Last updated: 2015-02-02Bibliographically approved

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