Androgen therapy improves muscle mass and strength but not muscle quality: results from two studies

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jul;285(1):E16-24. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00032.2003. Epub 2003 Mar 11.

Abstract

The relationship of strength to muscle area was used to assess change in muscle quality after anabolic interventions. Study 1: asymptomatic human immunodeficiency virus-positive men (39 +/- 9 yr) were randomized to nandrolone (600 mg/wk) +/- resistance training (RT). Study 2: older healthy men (72 +/- 5 yr) were randomized to oxandrolone (20 mg/day) or placebo. Maximum voluntary strength was determined by the 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) method for leg press, flexion and extension, and cross-sectional area of leg muscles by MRI. From study week 0 to study week 12, muscle quality was unchanged with nandrolone, oxandrolone, or oxandrolone placebo, respectively, for total thigh muscles (1.23 +/- 0.012 vs. 1.27 +/- 0.29 kg/cm2; 9.0 +/- 1.1 vs. 8.9 +/- 1.2 N/cm2; 8.9 +/- 1.2 vs. 8.9 +/- 1.9 N/cm2) and hamstrings (0.41 +/- 0.08 vs. 0.43 +/- 0.07 kg/cm2; 0.90 +/- 0.14 vs. 0.95 +/- 0.016 N/cm2; 0.94 +/- 0.23 vs. 0.93 +/- 0.21 N/cm2). Lower-extremity 1-RM strength increased several times greater with RT+nandrolone (51-63% increases) than with nandrolone alone (4.7-16%), despite similar increases in muscle area; therefore, muscle quality increased from 1.13 +/- 0.17 to 1.51 +/- 0.18 kg/cm2 (+36 +/- 19%; P < 0.001) for total thigh muscle, 0.37 +/- 0.10 to 0.53 +/- 0.08 kg/cm2 (+49 +/- 39%; P < 0.001) for hamstrings, and 0.73 +/- 0.19 to 1.07 +/- 0.16 kg/cm2 (+55 +/- 36%; P < 0.001) for quadriceps. Thus androgen therapy alone did not improve muscle quality, but the addition of RT to nandrolone produced substantive improvements.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anabolic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Androgens / adverse effects
  • Androgens / therapeutic use*
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • HIV Seropositivity / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nandrolone / adverse effects
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone / therapeutic use
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Oxandrolone / adverse effects
  • Oxandrolone / therapeutic use
  • Physical Fitness
  • Prospective Studies

Substances

  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Nandrolone
  • Oxandrolone
  • Nandrolone Decanoate