Consequences of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Abuse in Males; Sexual and Reproductive Perspective / Giovanni Corona, Giulia Rastrelli, Sara Marchiani, Sandra Filippi, Annamaria Morelli, Erica Sarchielli, Alessandra Sforza, Linda Vignozzi, Mario Maggi. - (World Journal of Men's Health 39 (2021) e28 (1 June); p. 1-14)
- PMID: 34169679
- DOI: 10.5534/wjmh.210021
The real epidemiology and the possible consequences of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) use still represent a very tricky task due to the difficulties in the quantification and detection of these drugs. Chronic use of AAS, frequently combined with other illicit substances, can induce tremendous negative effects on the reproductive system, but it is also associated with an increased overall and cardiovascular mortality risk. In the present review we summarize and discuss the available evidence regarding the negative impact of AAS on the male reproductive system, providing practical suggestions to manage these problems. For this purpose a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of AAS abusers vs. controls on several hormonal, reproductive and metabolic parameters was performed. In addition, in order to overcome possible limitations related to the combined use of different AAS preparations, we also retrospectively re-analyzed data on animal models treated with supraphysiological dosage of testosterone (T), performed in our laboratory. Available data clearly indicated that AAS negatively affect endogenous T production. In addition, increased T and estradiol circulating levels were also observed according to the type of preparations used. The latter leads to an impairment of sperm production and to the development of side effects such as acne, hair loss and gynecomastia. Furthermore, a worse metabolic profile, characterized by reduced high density lipoprotein and increased low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels along with an increased risk of hypertension has been also detected. Finally sexual dysfunctions, often observed upon doping, represent one the most probable unfavorable effects of AAS abuse.