Sex- and age-specific effects of anabolic androgenic steroids on reproductive behaviors and on GABAergic transmission in neuroendocrine control regions

Brain Res. 2006 Dec 18;1126(1):122-38. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.08.081. Epub 2006 Sep 29.


Illicit use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) has become a prevalent health concern not only among male professional athletes, but, disturbingly, among a growing number of women and adolescent girls. Despite the increasing use of AAS among women and adolescents, few studies have focused on the effects of these steroids in females, and female adolescent subjects are particularly underrepresented. Among the hallmarks of AAS abuse are changes in reproductive behaviors. Here, we discuss work from our laboratories on the actions of AAS on the onset of puberty and sexual behaviors in female rodents, AAS interactions and sex- and age-specific effects of these steroids on neural transmission mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors within forebrain neuroendocrine control regions that may underlie AAS-induced changes in these behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurosecretory Systems / drug effects*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / growth & development
  • Neurosecretory Systems / metabolism
  • Prosencephalon / drug effects*
  • Prosencephalon / growth & development
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism
  • Puberty / drug effects
  • Puberty / metabolism
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sex Differentiation / drug effects
  • Sex Differentiation / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Testosterone Congeners / adverse effects*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Testosterone Congeners
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid