Anabolic androgenic steroid affects competitive behaviour, behavioural response to ethanol and brain serotonin levels

Behav Brain Res. 2002 Jun 15;133(1):21-9. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(01)00408-9.


The present study investigated whether anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) treatment (daily subcutaneous injections during 2 weeks with nandrolone decanoate; 15 mg/kg) affects competitive behaviour, and locomotor activity response to a sedative dose of ethanol (0.5 g ethanol/kg). In addition, levels of brain monoamines were assessed. The results showed that AAS treated animals exhibited enhanced dominant behaviour in the competition test compared to controls. The AAS groups' locomotor activity was not affected by ethanol in contrast to the controls who showed a sedative locomotor activity. AAS animals had significant lower levels of serotonin in basal forebrain and dorsal striatum compared to controls. These findings further strengthen the fact that AAS affects behaviour, as well as biochemical parameters. Based on previous studies and results from the present study, we hypothesize that AAS abuse may constitute a risk factor for disinhibitory behaviour, partly by affecting the serotonergic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Competitive Behavior / drug effects*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Nandrolone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Serotonin
  • Ethanol
  • Nandrolone