Effect of anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate on the properties of certain enzymes in the heart, liver, and muscle of rats, and their effect on rats' cardiac electrophysiology

Horm Metab Res. 2007 Apr;39(4):268-72. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-973094.


Nandrolone decanoate (ND) is an anabolic steroid, modified to enhance anabolic rather than androgenic actions. The physiological effects of ND treatment are often used in various aspects of medical practice. In this investigation we have tried to establish whether a single, high dose of ND (20 mg/kg) would cause any anabolic effects. Moreover, we have attempted to correlate the eventual effects with changes in the activity and kinetic properties of anabolic- and bioenergetic-involved enzymes in different tissues of rats, along with the rats' ECG parameters. The body and liver weights of the rats were unchanged, but heart weight had increased 10 days after ND injection. Electrocardiographic data showed a small prolongation of the QRS complex 3, 6, and 10 days after ND treatment. It was established that ND causes activation of glucose-6-phosphate and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenases, malic enzyme, and NADP-linked isocitrate dehydrogenase in rat hearts. Moreover, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase from the hearts of ND-treated rats showed higher affinity to its substrate, in comparison with control. Activation of transketolase by ND in the liver was accompanied by inhibition of glucose-6-phosphate and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenases. We observed an increase of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and NAD-linked malate dehydrogenase in the muscle of ND treated rats. It may be concluded that ND in a single high dose exhibits cardiotrophic action, especially towards the increase of heart dehydrogenases activity which generates NADPH and supplies ribose phosphate for the biosynthesis of nucleotides and nucleic acids. On the other hand, ND may cause activation of ATP synthesis in muscle by enhanced malate-aspartate shuttle action.

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Electrocardiography / drug effects
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology*
  • Myocardium / enzymology*
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone / pharmacology
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Ribose / metabolism


  • Anabolic Agents
  • NADP
  • Ribose
  • Nandrolone
  • Nandrolone Decanoate