The use of anabolic-androgenic steroids to improve physical performance or appearance has increased notably. The doses used are 10- to 100- fold higher than the therapeutic dose (TD), and this abuse can cause several side effects. Glucose metabolism is significantly affected by anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse, but studies about glycemic regulation during fasting are scarce. There are some evidences showing that testosterone can antagonize glucocorticoids action, which are crucial to glucose production during fasting. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the impact of supraphysiological doses (SDs) of nandrolone decanoate (DECA) on rat glucose metabolism during fasting. Male Wistar rats were treated with i.m. injections of vehicle, a low TD (0.016 mg/100 g b.w.-TD group) or a high SD (1 mg/100 g b.w.-SD group) of DECA, once a week for 8 weeks. After 12 h fasting, we evaluated glucose and pyruvate tolerance tests, liver glycogen content, serum levels of gluconeogenic substrates, insulin and corticosterone, glucose uptake and hexokinase (HK) activity in skeletal muscle, and the adrenal catecholamine content. SD group had increased serum insulin levels and a blunted response to insulin regarding glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. Fasting serum glucose decreased significantly in SD group, as well as the pyruvate tolerance test and liver glycogen content. Moreover, serum levels of glycerol were increased in SD group. Our data indicate that SDs of DECA exert effects on different regulatory points of glucose metabolism, resulting in defective gluconeogenesis and decreased skeletal muscle glucose uptake in response to insulin.
Keywords: anabolic–androgenic steroids; gluconeogenesis; glucose; insulin.