The risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in presence of high-intensity endurance exercise along with chronic administration of nandrolone decanoate

Steroids. 2016 Jan;105:106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2015.12.002. Epub 2015 Dec 12.


Anabolic steroids used to improve muscular strength and performance in athletics. Its long-term consumption may induce cardiovascular adverse effects. We assessed the risk of ventricular arrhythmias in rats which subjected to chronic nandrolone plus high-intensity endurance exercise. Animals were grouped as; control (CTL), exercise (Ex): 8 weeks under exercise, vehicle group (Arach): received arachis oil, and Nan group: received nandrolone decanoate 5 mg/kg twice a week for 8 weeks, Arach+Ex group, and Nan+Ex. Finally, under anesthesia, arrhythmia was induced by infusion of 1.5 μg/0.1 mL/min of aconitine IV and ventricular arrhythmias were recorded for 15 min. Then, animals' hearts were excised and tissue samples were taken. Nandrolone plus exercise had no significant effect on blood pressure but decreased the heart rate (P<0.01) and increased the RR (P<0.01) and JT intervals (P<0.05) of electrocardiogram. Nandrolone+exercise significantly increased the ventricular fibrillation (VF) frequency and also decreased the VF latency (P<0.05 versus CTL group). Combination of exercise and nandrolone could not recover the decreasing effects of nandrolone on animals weight gain but, it enhanced the heart hypertrophy index (P<0.05). In addition, nandrolone increased the level of hydroxyproline (HYP) and malondialdehyde (MDA) but had not significant effect on glutathione peroxidase of heart. Exercise only prevented the effect of nandrolone on HYP. Nandrolone plus severe exercise increases the risk of VF that cannot be explained only by the changes in redox system. The intensification of cardiac hypertrophy and prolongation of JT interval may be a part of involved mechanisms.

Keywords: Electrocardiogram; Endurance exercise; Steroids; Ventricular arrhythmia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / chemically induced*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / pathology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cardiomegaly / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiomegaly / drug therapy
  • Cardiomegaly / pathology
  • Cardiomegaly / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / drug effects
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Hydroxyproline / metabolism
  • Latency Period, Psychological
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Nandrolone / administration & dosage
  • Nandrolone / adverse effects
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Risk Factors
  • Tachycardia / complications
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology


  • Malondialdehyde
  • Nandrolone
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Hydroxyproline