Effect of anabolic steroids on skeletal muscle mass during hindlimb suspension

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1987 Nov;63(5):2122-7. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1987.63.5.2122.


The efficacy of anabolic steroid treatment [0.3 or 0.9 mg nandrolone decanoate (Deca-Durabolin) per day] was examined in the context of sparing rodent fast-twitch plantaris and slow-twitch soleus muscle weight, sparing subcellular protein, and altering isomyosin expression in response to hindlimb suspension. Female rats were assigned to four groups (7 rats/group for 6 wk): 1) normal control (NC), 2) normal steroid (NS), 3) normal suspension (N-SUS), and 4) suspension steroid (SUS-S). Compared with control values for the plantaris and soleus muscles, suspension induced 1) smaller body and muscle weight (P less than 0.05), 2) losses in myofibril content (mg/muscle, P less than 0.05), and 3) shifts in the relative expression (expressed as %of total isomyosin) of isomyosins which favored lesser slow myosin and greater fast myosin isotypes (P less than 0.05). Steroid treatment of suspended animals (SUS-S vs. N-SUS) partially spared body and muscle weight (P less than 0.05) and spared plantaris but not soleus myofibril content (mg/muscle, P less than 0.05). However, steroid treatment did not modify the isomyosin pattern induced by suspension. In normal rats (NS vs. NC), steroid treatment enhanced body and plantaris muscle weight but not soleus weight (P less than 0.05) and did not alter isomyosin expression in either muscle type. Collectively these data suggest that in young female rats anabolic steroids 1) enhance the body weight and the weight of a fast-twitch ankle extensor in normal rats, 2) ameliorate the loss in body weight, fast-twitch muscle weight and protein content and slow-twitch muscle weight associated with hindlimb suspension.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hindlimb / anatomy & histology
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Myofibrils / metabolism
  • Myosin Subfragments
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone / pharmacology
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Myosin Subfragments
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Proteins
  • Nandrolone
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Myosins
  • Nandrolone Decanoate