The effects of 17 alpha-methyltestosterone, methandrostenolone, and nandrolone decanoate on the rat estrous cycle

Physiol Behav. 1997 Feb;61(2):265-72. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(96)00409-x.


In a series of four separate experiments, the effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) compounds on the estrous cycle of adult Long-Evans rats were examined. Sexual receptivity, vaginal cytology, and body weight were monitored throughout a 2-week baseline, AAS treatment, and recovery periods. In Experiments 1-3, subjects were administered 17 alpha-methyltestosterone, methandrostenolone, or nandrolone decanoate at doses selected to mimic the human abuse levels of each compound. In these studies, the highest doses of 17 alpha-methyltestosterone (7.5 mg/kg) and nandrolone decanoate (5.6 mg/kg) disrupted behavioral and vaginal cyclicity, whereas the highest dose of methandrostenolone (3.75 mg/kg) appeared to have slightly less robust effects. To compare effects on estrous cyclicity across AAS compounds, subjects in Experiment 4 received a single high dose (7.5 mg/kg) of each compound for 2 weeks. At this dose, all AAS compounds interfered with vaginal cyclicity, although effects on behavioral cyclicity and uterine weight were not uniform. Across all 4 experiments, AAS effects on body weight were minimal. The short-term administration of AAS compounds at levels commonly used by humans disrupts female neuroendocrine function in a dose-dependent manner.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estrus / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Methandrostenolone / pharmacology*
  • Methyltestosterone / pharmacology*
  • Nandrolone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nandrolone / pharmacology
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Rats
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Testosterone Congeners / pharmacology*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Testosterone Congeners
  • Nandrolone
  • Methandrostenolone
  • Nandrolone Decanoate
  • Methyltestosterone