Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are among the drugs most used by athletes for improving physical performance, as well as for aesthetic purposes. A number of papers have showed the side effects of AAS in different organs and tissues. For example, AAS are known to suppress gonadotropin-releasing hormone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone. This study investigates the effects of nandrolone on testosterone biosynthesis in Leydig cells using various methods, including mass spectrometry, western blotting, confocal microscopy and quantitative real-time PCR. The results obtained show that testosterone levels increase at a 3.9 μM concentration of nandrolone and return to the basal level a 15.6 μM dose of nandrolone. Nandrolone-induced testosterone increment was associated with upregulation of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and downregulation of 17a-hydroxylase/17, 20 lyase (CYP17A1). Instead, a 15.6 µM dose of nandrolone induced a down-regulation of CYP17A1. Further in vivo studies based on these data are needed to better understand the relationship between disturbed testosterone homeostasis and reproductive system impairment in male subjects.
© 2015 The Authors. Journal of Cellular Physiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.