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Neuroreport. 2011 May 11;22(7):326-30. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283460282.

Increase in hypothalamic aromatase in macaque monkeys treated with anabolic-androgenic steroids: PET study with [11C]vorozole.

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  • 1RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.


In an earlier study in rodents, we showed that the aromatase that converts androgens to estrogens in the preoptic area and bed nucleus of stria terminalis was significantly increased in concentration after exposure to anabolic-androgenic steroids. To confirm whether this occurs in primates, we conducted a positron emission tomographic study using macaque monkeys. Male rhesus monkeys were treated with nandrolone decanoate for 3 weeks. To measure aromatase concentrations, we performed positron emission tomographic imaging using a 11C-labeled specific aromatase inhibitor, [11C]vorozole. After treatment with nandrolone, significant increase in [11C]vorozole binding was observed in the hypothalamus but not other areas including the amygdala, which is also aromatase enriched. These findings in monkeys are consistent with those we obtained earlier in rats. These findings strongly suggest that aromatase in the hypothalamus may play a crucial role in the emotional instability of anabolic-androgenic steroids abusers.

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