Introduction: The use and abuse of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) commonly induces liver damage.
Material and methods: The study included 40 male Wistar rats, divided into 4 groups of 10 rats each. Animals in the first experimental group (M), were subjected to progressive systematic forced swimming test, 5 days a week, during 8 weeks. Animals in this group were treated with AAS methandienone, 2 mg/kg BW/day, per os, before swimming, 5 d/w for 8 weeks. After swimming, animals were given three times more food than the laboratory animals of the same age and kind. Animals in the second group (M+S), were subjected to progressive forced swimming test, 5 d/w 8 weeks. Animals in this group were treated with methandienone equally as the experimental group M and received the same amount of food. Apart from that, they received silymarin 20 mg/kg BW/day. Animals in the third group (K), represented the control group, which was neither subjected to swimming test, nor treated with methandienone or silymarin. Animals in this group received the same amount of food as animals in groups M and M+S. Animals in the fourth group (C), also represented a control. This group was not exercised nor treated, and animals received a standard amount of food for laboratory animals of this kind and age. Quantitative analysis of obtained hemataxylin-eosin, periodic acid shift and enzymohistochemical preparations was processed using Digital Image Analysis System: Microimage 3.0.
Results: It was established that processes in the nuclei of animals in groups M and K were significantly more intensive (p<0.001) in relation to groups M+S and C. The investigation of glycogen showed significantly higher density in the cells of groups M and M+S in comparison to groups K and C. Also, there was a significant difference between groups M+S and M. Density of enzyme activity of glutamate dehydrogenase in hepatocytes of animals in the group M+S was significantly higher in relation to the remaining three groups. A statistically significant difference was not found in enzyme activity of succinate dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase.
Discussion: In cell nuclei of animals in the experimental group M, in the absence of silymarin effect, methandienone causes damages which induce regenerative processes and in this way increase high intensity activity. Silymarin significantly increases the glycogen density in hepatocytes. Increased activities of GDH are attributed to cell vitality.
Conclusion: The present results show hepatoprotective effects of silymarin in androgenic-anabolic steroid induced liver damage.