The anabolic steroids testosterone propionate and nandrolone, but not 17alpha-methyltestosterone, induce conditioned place preference in adult mice

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Feb 1;100(1-2):122-7. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.09.014. Epub 2008 Nov 22.


Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are often misused by adolescents and athletes. Their effects vary according to chemical structure and metabolism, route of administration, and AAS regimen. In this study, adult C57Bl/6 male mice were systemically exposed to testosterone propionate (TP), nandrolone or 17alpha-methyltestosterone (17alpha-meT), type I, type II and type III AAS, respectively, in order to determine the hedonic or aversive properties of each drug. For this purpose, the conditioned place preference (CPP) test was employed at three different AAS doses (0.075, 0.75 and 7.5 mg/kg). Other behavioral domains monitored were light-dark transitions (side changes) and general activity. TP shifted place preference at all doses tested, and nandrolone shifted place preference at 0.75 and 7.5 mg/kg, but not at 0.075 mg/kg, the lower dose tested. Conversely, mice receiving 17alpha-meT did not show alteration in the preference score. The lower dose of nandrolone did modify exploratory-based anxiety showing a decrease in light-dark transitions if compared to vehicle-treated animals, while mice treated with TP or 17alpha-meT were not affected. Our data suggest that when studying hedonic and rewarding properties of synthetic androgens, distinction has to be made based on type of AAS and metabolism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Darkness
  • Light
  • Male
  • Methyltestosterone / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nandrolone / pharmacology*
  • Testosterone Propionate / pharmacology*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Nandrolone
  • Methyltestosterone
  • Testosterone Propionate