Effects of Long Term Supplementation of Anabolic Androgen Steroids on Human Skeletal Muscle

Effects of Long Term Supplementation of Anabolic Androgen Steroids on Human Skeletal Muscle / Ji-Guo Yu, Patrik Bonnerud, Anders Eriksson, Per S. Stål, Yelverton Tegner, Christer Malm. - (PLoS One 9 (2014) 9 (10 September); p. 1-11)

  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105330
  • PMCID: PMC4160183
  • PMID: 25207812


The effects of long-term (over several years) anabolic androgen steroids (AAS) administration on human skeletal muscle are still unclear. In this study, seventeen strength training athletes were recruited and individually interviewed regarding selfadministration of banned substances. Ten subjects admitted having taken AAS or AAS derivatives for the past 5 to 15 years (Doped) and the dosage and type of banned substances were recorded. The remaining seven subjects testified to having never used any banned substances (Clean). For all subjects, maximal muscle strength and body composition were tested, and biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle were obtained. Using histochemistry and immunohistochemistry (IHC), muscle biopsies were evaluated for morphology including fiber type composition, fiber size, capillary variables and myonuclei.
Compared with the Clean athletes, the Doped athletes had significantly higher lean leg mass, capillary per fibre and
myonuclei per fiber. In contrast, the Doped athletes had significantly lower absolute value in maximal squat force and
relative values in maximal squat force (relative to lean body mass, to lean leg mass and to muscle fiber area). Using
multivariate statistics, an orthogonal projection of latent structure discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) model was established, in which the maximal squat force relative to muscle mass and the maximal squat force relative to fiber area, together with capillary density and nuclei density were the most important variables for separating Doped from the Clean athletes (regression = 0.93 and prediction = 0.92, p,0.0001). In Doped athletes, AAS dose-dependent increases were observed in lean body mass, muscle fiber area, capillary density and myonuclei density. In conclusion, long term AAS supplementation led to increases in lean leg mass, muscle fiber size and a parallel improvement in muscle strength, and all were dosedependent. Administration of AAS may induce sustained morphological changes in human skeletal muscle, leading to physical performance enhancement.

Original document


Research / Study
10 September 2014
Bonnerud, Patrik
Eriksson, Anders
Malm, Christer
Stål, Per S.
Tegner, Yelverton
Yu, Ji-Guo
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Luleå tekniska universitet - Luleå University of Technology
Umeå universitet - Umeå University
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
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Long term effects
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Scientific article
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Date generated
23 September 2020
Date of last modification
22 October 2020
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