Androgenic anabolic steroid, physical exercise and stress induce cardiovascular adaptations including increased endothelial function. The present study investigated the effects of these conditions alone and in combination on the vascular responses of male Wistar rats. Exercise was started at 8 weeks of life (60-min swimming sessions 5 days per week for 8 weeks, while carrying a 5% body-weight load). One group received nandrolone (5 mg/kg, twice per week for 8 weeks, im). Acute immobilization stress (2 h) was induced immediately before the experimental protocol. Curves for noradrenaline were obtained for thoracic aorta, with and without endothelium from sedentary and trained rats, submitted or not to stress, treated or not with nandrolone. None of the procedures altered the vascular reactivity to noradrenaline in denuded aorta. In intact aorta, stress and exercise produced vascular adaptive responses characterized by endothelium-dependent hyporeactivity to noradrenaline. These conditions in combination did not potentiate the vascular adaptive response. Exercise-induced vascular adaptive response was abolished by nandrolone. In contrast, the aortal reactivity to noradrenaline of sedentary rats and the vascular adaptive response to stress of sedentary and trained rats were not affected by nandrolone. Maximum response for 7-10 rats/group (g): sedentary 3.8 ± 0.2 vs trained 3.0 ± 0.2*; sedentary/stress 2.7 ± 0.2 vs trained/stress 3.1 ± 0.1*; sedentary/nandrolone 3.6 ± 0.1 vs trained/nandrolone 3.8 ± 0.1; sedentary/stress/nandrolone 3.2 ± 0.1 vs trained/stress/nandrolone 2.5 ± 0.1*; *P < 0.05 compared to its respective control. Stress and physical exercise determine similar vascular adaptive response involving distinct mechanisms as indicated by the observation that only the physical exercise-induced adaptive response was abolished by nandrolone.