Increased dopamine transporter density in the male rat brain following chronic nandrolone decanoate administration

Neurosci Lett. 2004 Feb 12;356(2):131-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2003.11.040.


Adolescent males currently employ anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) to become intoxicated, besides the traditional desires of an improved physical appearance and enhanced sports performance. Several studies indicate that AAS affect the brain reward system. Recently chronic administration with nandrolone decanoate to male rats has been shown to increase the dopamine transporter (DAT) density in the striatum visualised in vivo by positron emission tomography. The present study aimed to investigate if the increased DAT density could be confirmed using in vitro autoradiography following a comparable regimen of nandrolone treatment. Specific binding of 50 pM [125I] RTI-55 in the presence of 1 microM citalopram was used to label DAT. Two weeks of nandrolone decanoate administration at the supra-therapeutic doses 1, 5 and 15 mg/kg per day increased DAT density in the caudate putamen at all three doses. In conclusion, this study confirms that chronic nandrolone administration increases dopamine transporter density in the CPU and therefore supports the theory that AAS affects the dopamine system in the male rat brain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / drug effects*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone / pharmacology*
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Slc6a3 protein, rat
  • Nandrolone
  • Nandrolone Decanoate