Influence of the anabolic-androgenic steroid nandrolone on cannabinoid dependence

Neuropharmacology. 2006 Jun;50(7):788-806. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.11.017. Epub 2006 Jan 27.


The identification of the possible factors that might enhance the risk of developing drug addiction and related motivational disorders is crucial to reduce the prevalence of these problems. Here, we examined in mice whether the exposure to the anabolic-androgenic steroid nandrolone would affect the pharmacological and motivational effects induced by Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. Mice received nandrolone using pre-exposure (during 14days before THC treatment) or co-administration (1h before each THC injection) procedures. Both nandrolone treatments did not modify the acute antinociceptive, hypothermic and hypolocomotor effects of THC or the development of tolerance after chronic THC administration. Nandrolone pre-exposure blocked THC- and food-induced conditioned place preference and increased the somatic manifestations of THC withdrawal precipitated by the CB1 cannabinoid antagonist rimonabant (SR141617A). The aversive effects of THC were not changed by nandrolone. Furthermore, nandrolone pre-exposure attenuated the anxiolytic-like effects of a low dose of THC without altering the anxiogenic-like effects of a high dose in the lit/dark box, open field and elevated plus-maze. Biochemical experiments showed that chronic nandrolone treatment did not modify CB1 receptor binding and GTP-binding protein activation in the caudate-putamen and cerebellum. Taken together, our results suggest that chronic nandrolone treatment alters behavioural responses related to cannabinoid addictive properties.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Androgens / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dronabinol / metabolism
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nandrolone / administration & dosage*
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / metabolism
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Cannabinoids
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Nandrolone
  • Dronabinol