Background: Anabolic steroids have the clinical effect of increasing protein synthesis in muscle and other tissues. The brain and spinal cord neurons have gonadal steroid receptors and various studies have shown at structural and molecular levels that androgenic steroids have a significant trophic effect on the brain and spinal cord.
Case report: We evaluated the effect of Oxandrolone (an FDA-approved anabolic steroid) at the dose of 20 mg/day for 3 months added to concomitant exercise strength training 3 times a week in a patient affected by a demyelinating disease, Charcot-Marie-Toot 1 (CMT1). After the treatment, an increase in muscular strength and walking capacity was observed. Muscle biopsy revealed a significant increase of type grouping of muscle fibers, an expression of regeneration and reinnervation processes.
Conclusions: Data ensuing from this single case-report suggest that anabolic androgenic steroids have a potential neuroregenerative effect, with an inherent improvement in neuromuscular efficiency through an increased myelin synthesis at peripheral nervous system site.