Background: Stretching of skeletal muscle induces expression of the genes which encode myogenic transcription factors or muscle contractile proteins and results in muscle growth. Anabolic steroids are reported to strengthen muscles. We have previously studied the effects of muscle stretching on gene expression. Here, we studied the effect of a combination of passive stretching and the administration of an anabolic steroid on mRNA expression of a muscle growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-I autocrine variant, or mechano-growth factor (MGF).
Methods: Twelve 8-week-old male Wistar rats were used. Metenolone was administered and passive repetitive dorsiflexion and plantar flexion of the ankle joint performed under deep anesthesia. After 24 h, the gastrocnemius muscles were removed and the mRNA expression of insulin-like growth factor-I autocrine variant was measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Repetitive stretching in combination with metenolone, but not stretching alone, significantly increased MGF mRNA expression.
Conclusion: Anabolic steroids enhance the effect of passive stretching on MGF expression in skeletal muscle.