The cardiac toxicity of anabolic steroids

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. Jul-Aug 1998;41(1):1-15. doi: 10.1016/s0033-0620(98)80019-4.

Abstract

Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone that were developed as adjunct therapy for a variety of medical conditions. Today they are most commonly used to enhance athletic performance and muscular development. Both illicit and medically indicated anabolic steroid use have been temporally associated with many subsequent defects within each of the body systems. Testosterone is the preferred ligand of the human androgen receptor in the myocardium and directly modulates transcription, translation, and enzyme function. Consequent alterations of cellular pathology and organ physiology are similar to those seen with heart failure and cardiomyopathy. Hypertension, ventricular remodeling, myocardial ischemia, and sudden cardiac death have each been temporally and causally associated with anabolic steroid use in humans. These effects persist long after use has been discontinued and have significant impact on subsequent morbidity and mortality. The mechanisms of cardiac disease as a result of anabolic steroid use are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology

Substances

  • Anabolic Agents